Church of Doom
By Rebecca Drew
EERIE photographs have revealed the decaying remains of the Miami church that was bought by the founder of the black supremacist Nation of Yahweh movement who declared himself the Son of God and plotted to kill white Americans.
From collapsing wooden floorboards to rubbish tipped stairs and graffiti clad walls the church is a far cry from its heyday. Other shots show furniture dumped in rooms and a lone chair left in what looks like a main hall.
The stunning shots were taken in the Little Haiti neighbourhood by an American photographer known only as Bullet. To take the stunning shots, Bullet used a Nikon D7000 with a 10-20mm Sigma lens, a set-up he’s used for almost four years now.
“A friend of mine found this place by chance and I asked to go with him, not knowing any of the history behind the building,” said Bullet.
“The neighbourhood is dangerous so we were cautious going in.
“Not too long ago, another photographer was robbed there of his camera equipment at gunpoint, which again, wasn’t all too surprising given the location.
“The people around there are known to steal the bodies of dead children from cemeteries for voodoo and witchcraft, so mugging people would be nothing out of the ordinary around there.
“To me and many others, decay is beautiful and that’s what I try to capture in many of my photos.
“There is of course sadness there, I always tell people, there is no happy story as to why a building is abandoned.”
The building was first known as the Salem Baptist Church when it was built in 1935 and was better known as the First Baptist Church. In 1985, it was bought by Hulon Mitchell Jr. also known as, Yahweh ben Yahweh, founder of the Nation of Yahweh – founded six years previous.
The group accepted Yahweh ben Yahweh as the son of God, in 1991 he was convicted of conspiring to murder white people but was released in 2001 and later died in 2007.
Bullet says that he loves travelling and discovering new places and friends through urban exploration.
“We’re always going through small towns we’ve never heard of and seeing new places,” he added.
“There’s also the fact that the friends I’ve met through doing this have been some of the best friends I have.
“There is history all around us, even if it is partially forgotten or on the verge of being destroyed.
“History should not be forgotten because as the saying goes, those who don’t learn of history will be doomed to repeat it.
“Most people are amazed that places like these exist, especially so close to where they live.”
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