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6. Ramah Primitive Baptist Church

in 1845, Ramah Primitive Baptist Church was one of many of primitive Baptist churches that were established in the early nineteenth century. Inspired by the Second Great Awakening in the last decade of the 19th century, it embraced a belief in predestination theology. Simple buildings with little adornment were created for worship.

Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Buena Vista, GA. Photograph courtesy of David Rush, 2016.

Conservative traditions in the church demanded that men sat on the left side in the ‘amen corner’ while single women sat on the right side in the ‘women’s corner.’ Landowners sat in the front pews while sharecroppers took up the rows behind them. The Marion County Sheriff brought prisoners to sit in the rear pews. It was common for all races to attend church services together. Since anything that could be understood as a potential ‘idol’ was prohibited the inside of the church is devoid of molding, crosses, memorials, wall sconces, photographs, paintings, artifacts, and stained glass windows. In the early 1900s, a window behind the pulpit was enclosed so that a ‘halo’ did not form around the minister.  Artist Eddie Owens Martin occasionally accompanied his mother who was a parishioner to Ramah Church. Dressed in a brightly colored suit adorned with bells and tassels, his long beard flowing, and wearing ‘elf-like’ shoes, he provided a dramatic contrast to the stark interior.

Artist and creator of the visionary arts environment, Pasaquan, Eddie Owens Martin is buried next to his mother in the church cemetery. 

Submission composed by Alisa Williams, April 16, 2016

References and Further Reading

Crowley, John G. "Primitive Baptists." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 16 September 2014. Web. 21 April 2016.

Dillard, Mike. “Ramah Church, Buena Vista, Georgia” short narrative history emailed to Dr. Amanda Rees, 29 February 2016.