Mason Temple

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Mason Temple, in Memphis, Tennessee, is the International Sanctuary and central headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the largest African American Pentecostal group in the world.

Built in 1941 during World War II, the Temple was constructed to replace the original "Tabernacle" or meeting place of the Annual Holy Convocation which burned down in the late 1930s. Despite shortages of steel and other supplies, Mason Temple was the largest church building owned by a predominantly black religious denomination in the United States at its completion. It has a present seating capacity of 4,891.

The building was named for Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, founder of the Church of God in Christ, who is entombed in a marble crypt inside the Temple. It was the location of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech on April 3, 1968, one day before his assassination.


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