Growth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) 1816–92


Map Code: Ax02492

The “Four Horsemen” were seminal figures in the foundation and early expansion of the AME, the first independent black denomination in the United States. The first Horseman was Richard Allen (1760–1831); although born a slave, Allen managed to purchase his freedom and became a Methodist preacher, initiating his own independent black congregation to avoid the discrimination they experienced in the mainstream Church.  The AME was formally established in 1816, with Allen its first Bishop. One of his co-founders was William Paul Quinn (1788–1893), a Horseman who won his spurs leading the ministry into the then frontier territories of Ohio and Indiana. A later Horseman, Daniel Payne (1811–93) , “the Apostle of Education”, established Wilberforce University in 1856, the first college to be run by and for African Americans. The final Horseman, Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915) extended the ministry overseas, promoting black emigration to escape the renewed discrimination in the American South exemplified by the Jim Crow laws. By the end of the 19th century, the Church membership was approaching half a million, with thousands of ministries and schools across the continental United States.

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