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BSAI - Staff
|Contact||Phone / Address||Position / Responsibility|
|Elyssa Taylor-Stewart||(562) 997-8045||Administrator
Black Student Achievement Initiative (BSAI)
A Moment in Black History
Rev. Thurston Lomax - A Father to the Black Community in Long Beach
January 7, 1913 - December 6, 1941
Thurston Grant Lomax was born January 7, 1913 in Ocean City, New Jersey to Preston and Estelle Lomax. He was the oldest of four siblings. Following the death of his father, 14 year old Thurston moved with his mother and siblings to Los Angeles in 1927.
They followed their family minister, Reverend Grant Harris, who left New Jersey for greener pastures in the California. Reverend Harris and his wife had no children and quickly took in the Lomax children while their mother worked as a private maid. Reverend Harris became minister of the Zion Hill Baptist Church in Los Angeles and took Lomax under his wing. In 1936, Lomax became the assistant minister at Zion Hill. In February 1939 Thurston went on to take over the ministerial duties of the Second Baptist Church in what was called the Negro District and is now known as Central Long Beach. Second Baptist Church, which was originally founded in 1903, relocated from 10th and Atlantic Avenue to its permanent home at 943 New York Street. The Second Baptist Church and the later established Grant AME Church became the focal points of the Black community in Long Beach.
On his one-year anniversary as pastor at the Long Beach church, Rev Lomax’s accomplishment were many: nearly 100 new members had joined the church; the debt had been reduced by 65%; the parsonage had been completely renovated and refurbished; a gospel choir of 30 voices had been organized; an electric organ was purchased, and many other improvements were made. In July 1940, the church celebrated paying off the mortgage. Unfortunately, by October 1941, Reverend Lomax had to take a leave of absence due to battling Tuberculosis. He died on December 6, 1941, at only 28 years old. Nearly one year later, Second Baptist Church was dedicated to his memory.
During difficult times, Second Baptist Church became an integral part of Long Beach’s Black Community. Reverend Lomax left great love and devotion behind, and he was a beacon of hope for so many