Since 1847, Plymouth Church has been a pulpit for civil rights, and was an Underground Railroad safehouse. Preacher Henry Ward Beecher was an influential abolitionist, and drawing huge crowds from all over to his sermons. To accommodate, architect J.C wells designed the Sanctuary building like an auditorium. Beecher also invited guests to the pulpit, including Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and Wendell Phillips. Other speakers have included Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. even delivered an early version of his “I Have a Dream” speech here.