PHILADELPHIA – One of the oldest black institutions in the country is marking its bicentennial in Philadelphia this week.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church is holding its general conference in the city. The denomination was also founded in Philadelphia by Richard Allen, a former slave who broke with the Methodist Church over racism in the late 1700s.
The church flourished after the Civil War and has been central to the struggle against injustice and inequality for blacks. It has also historically emphasized economic empowerment and education, starting several historically black colleges.
The AME Church was in the spotlight last year after nine black worshippers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were killed by a white gunman who targeted the church for its historic significance.