Untitled Document

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

5050 St. Antoine at East Warren in Detroit's Cultural Center

Christian churches in the era of segregation and slavery wrestled with the issue of African Americans as members. The ideals of Christian sometimes did and other times did not include the idea of whites and blacks worshiping together in the same church as the same time. In many religions, but not all, a Jim Crow policy developed. To some degree this continues into the 21st century. Dr. Martin Luther King observed that the most segregated hour of the week was Sunday morning. The Reverend Richard Allen, a Philadelphia African American preacher who had been ordained in 1797, founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816.

In 1839, African Americans in Detroit organized the Colored Methodist Society. The city's first Methodist congregation had been organized 17 years earlier and now occupied the impressive church located at East Adams and Woodward. In 1841, the Colored Methodist Society adopted their present name. Their first church was built on Lafayette in the 1840s. In 1922 - just a few years after the massive migration of southern blacks to Detroit began - they moved to their present location near the Frederick Avenue Historic District. The name of the street in front of this church was recently changed from St. Antoine to Richard Allen.

Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: P 25028, Listed: April 4, 1975
Michigan Historic Marker: Erected: November 24, 1976

Photo: Ren Farley, January, 2003
Use in 2003: Church

Return to Religious Sites

Return to Homepage