Douglas Memorial Community Church was built is 1857 for the Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. The building boasts a grand Greek Revival design by architect Thomas Balbirnie with a sanctuary that seats a thousand people and an “undercroft” designed to hold six hundred.
In 1925, the congregation of the Douglass Memorial Community Church split off from the established Bethel A.M.E. Church on Druid Hill Avenue and acquired the building on Madison Avenue. In July 1949, Dr. Marion C. Bascom became a senior pastor at the church; a position he continued to hold up until his retirement in March 1995. Before his death in 2012, Pastor Bascom had dedicated his life to activism including everything from participating in the protests at Gwynn Oak Park to leading efforts to create new affordable housing in the Upton neighborhood. Speaking about his involvement in a July 4, 1963, protest at Gwynn Oak, Pastor Bascom explained:
“I am the one who said all along I will not go to jail, but I will help others who go. But this morning I said to myself, I have nothing to lose but my chains. So if I do not preach at my pulpit Sunday morning, it might be the most eloquent sermon I ever preached.”