The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) church is formally organized in Philadelphia. Richard Allen is the first Bishop of the church.
1816 (Apr 9)
The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) church, the first all-Black religious denomination in the United States, was formally organized in Philadelphia. Richard Allen was named the first bishop of the church. Allen was born enslaved in Philadelphia and was sold as a youth to a White man in Delaware. He became a preacher shortly thereafter and received permission to hold services in his master's home. Allen preached to both Blacks and Whites and was allowed, at the same time, to hire himself out. He bought his freedom by hauling salt, wood, and other products, and by laboring in a brickyard. After leading the A.M.E. church for fifteen years, Allen died in 1831. He was succeeded by Morris Brown, an exile from South Carolina who had resided in Philadelphia since 1823.