In the early years of post-slavery America, black christians held their worship services in rented out storefronts they converted into makeshift churches as many black congregations at that time did not have the financial foundation to build great cathedrals or even small sanctuaries.
The storefront church also served as a hub for many poor blacks to see leadership in an all black arena. Many storefronts emerged in the urban centers of the north and were filled with poor former slaves leaving the harsh memories of the south behind.
Storefront churches have always intrigued me. I've been to a handful of wakes in storefront churches and it's never fun. Wakes hardly are, but storefront church wakes seem to a bit more depressing.
Storefront churches were a center of social development and free speech for many poor blacks to express their feelings about the struggles and hardships they faced everyday in their lives.
Storefronts are still very much apart of the black christian experience today; furthermore, the storefront church has also emerged within other cultures.
Storefront churches today are not just black and urban. Many have recently been established in Latino and Asian-dominated neighbourhoods, as well as poorer rural communities, typically serving the same functions as the storefront churches in historically black communities.
Well, this guy has got a site with over 100 photos of storefront houses of worship in Brooklyn. I found all these fotos quite interesting.
Check it out for yourowndamnself.