The current building was dedicated in 1881 in honor of James J. Howard Gregory who donated the funds to build a brick church. However, the church, initially called the First Congregational Church, was first started in about 1868, approximately two years after the completion of the adjoining school, Gregory Normal Institute, which was reportedly responsible for training ninety percent of the teachers in the community between the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. This church is unique in that it developed out of the missionary movement of New England. Gregory Church is also known for civil and political events surrounding the Wilmington Ten. In February 1971, several members barricaded themselves inside the church while protesting the slow and frustrating process of desegregation.