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Before the Lutheran School for Negroes was founded in 1917, there was no elementary school in the southwestern section of the city. The need for secular and religious training was quite evident. A group of far-sighted Christian Negro women from the 3X10 Club desiring to help succeeded in influencing the Board of the American Lutheran Church to establish a school.


Having raised the funds to purchase three lots the school was started on the corner of 29th Ave and 18th Street. Professor Gordon Stroud was the first principal and teachers Alice Luffborough (talented musician and later became Mrs. Stroud) and Laura Murphy. The enrollment was 150 by the end of the first semester. The first school was known as Saint Paul's Lutheran School and later as Dobler Institute.


By the end of the term 1918-1919, the enrollment had increased so rapidly that another structure and three more teachers were added. The American Lutheran Church later purchased the Old Austin Building and the curriculum was expanded. 

St. Paul's Academy

Top: Professor Stroud

Left-Right: Mrs. Anna Lou Sanders, Mrs. Haasen,

Mrs. Stroud, Mrs. Goings, and Mrs. Murphy

Professor Stroud's health failed and the leadership reigns were passed to Rev. Clyde Hilderbrand for two years and then Dr. Theodore Speigner. During this administration, the name was changed to Saint Paul Lutheran Academy and later Martin Luther Institute.

It was the concern of the Mission Board that it would be necessary to set up a course of theological studies for in-service training for this Mission. The first Servants of the Church were Missionaries Speigner and Tarrant. These servants of the Church were ordained. 


On July 30, 1947, the people voted to incorporate as Christ Lutheran Church. Construction started in February 1948. Dr. Speigner was the first pastor of the American Lutheran Church. He later accepted a faculty position. After the church building was erected, Reverend W.E. Langhans was installed that following April.