African Methodist Episcopal Church
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Richard Allen
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Although the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) officially formed in 1816, its origins stem from a 1787 incident. Blacks and whites were experiencing tension in St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. One Sunday morning in November, a white trustee tried to pull Richard Allen’s friend, Absalom Jones, from his knees as Allen, Jones, and other blacks were praying in the white section. They finished praying and walked out. That year, Allen called a meeting of prominent black Methodists from the Northeast. In 1794, he established Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. Frustrated with the prevalence of white control, Allen and others formed the African Methodist Episcopal Church (commonly called the A.M.E.) as a new denomination in 1816. Representatives elected Richard Allen as the first bishop. Under his leadership, the A.M.E. grew and spread throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

Today, it is the oldest African-American denomination that still exists in the United States.
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Allen, Richard

Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-pga-03643

Richard Allen portrait- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-pga-03004

Absalom Jones portrait- Internet Archive

Mother Bethel AME church, Philadelphia, PA- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Smallbones

AME book concern- Internet Archive
Melton, J. Gordon, 1978. The Encyclopedia of American Religions, Vol. 1. Wilmington, NC: McGrath Publishing Company.
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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