Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded
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Time Period
Cumberland Presbyterians began to grow in the early 19th century after they separated from the main Presbyterian body in 1810 over ordination violations. As membership grew, white converts brought their slaves into the denomination and established special missions for blacks. By the Civil War, there were approximately 20,000 black members.

However, after the Civil War ended, black members wanted more autonomy from their former masters. Rev. Moses Weir discussed the desire to form a separate church at the 1869 general assembly. He argued that they could evangelize and minister to blacks, but they would still be tied to the white church for financial assistance. In 1871, all-black synods began to form in Tennessee, Texas, and Kentucky. In 1874, they officially organized as the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church, later known as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America.

Today, the denomination lists more than 15,000 members in 152 churches.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
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Church Street Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America- Flickr- photo by Tamara Evans (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Murphy, Larry, J. Gordon Melton, and Gary Ward, 1993. Encyclopedia of African American Religions. New York: Garland.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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