Founded in 1868, Beulah African Methodist Episcopal Church served as a center for civil rights organizing while Prince Edward County Public Schools were closed. In 1959, Beulah's minister, the Rev. A. I. Dunlap, made it possible for African-American students who were seniors at Moton High School to attend Kittrell College in Henderson, N.C., to complete their high school education.
The Rev. Goodwin Douglas, a native of Bermuda who roomed with a Prince Edward County student at Kittrell, accepted a position at Beulah after graduation. He and the Rev. J. Samuel Williams, Jr., who was part of the 1951 walkout at Moton, helped organize the student protests of downtown businesses in the summer of 1963. Both ministers had experience in civil rights demonstrations elsewhere.