In 1852 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a white congregation sold its building to its black members and Shiloh Baptist Church was established. By 1861, it had grown to 750 members, most of whom were slaves. When the Union Army offered safe passage to all blacks from Fredericksburg to Washington, many Shiloh members came here. Meeting in a small shanty, they continued to worship together and were also taught to read and write. In 1863, Shiloh was recognized as a true church and ordained its first pastor. In the 137 years since then, there have been only five other pastors.