The First African-American Denomination in America is Born Out of Controversy

Founded in a time when slavery was the norm in the young United States, the AME Church became the first African-American denomination in response to increased discrimination by White leaders in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The church was founded in 1816 by Richard Allen, but not until after more than a decade of trying to find a way to worship peacefully, but separately, under the Methodist Episcopal banner.  

Initially, the denomination was concentrated on the East coast, but it found it’s way to Wichita in the early 1870s.  The story goes, Mrs. Robinson and other African-American residents of the city started having prayer meetings in her home located at Waco and Pine street in the early 1870s. By 1878, there were enough members and residents to support two churches; one AME and one Baptist. The group divided into these two denominations. The first trustees were Thomas Glover, Henry Baker, Samuel Cox, and Jacob Mc Afee. The first pastor was Alfred H. Daily.

This year the U.S. Postal Service recognizes the 200th anniversary of the founding of the AME Church with a Black Heritage Stamp featuring the church founder Richard Allen.  

To learn more about the history of the AME Church and Allen, read the story in the Reflector, the Black History Special Supplement to The Community Voice.  Click here.  

Kansas Black history facts are prepared for The Community Voice by Donna Rae Pearson.  

The Community Voice newspaper, “a trusted voice from the community’s perspective,” is published bi-weekly.  To reach the current edition, click here.  

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