World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Article Id: WHEBN0047010807
Reproduction Date:

Title: Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: WikiProject National Register of Historic Places/DYK, Main Page history/2015 July 12, Current events/2015 June 17, History of Charleston, South Carolina, June 17
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Emanuel AME Church
"Mother Emanuel"
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Emanuel AME Church is located in South Carolina
Emanuel AME Church
Location Charleston, South Carolina
Country United States
Denomination African Methodist Episcopal Church
Membership 1600 (2008)
Website .orgemanuelamechurch
Founded 1816
Founder(s) Rev. Morris Brown
Denmark Vesey
Status Church
Functional status Active
Architect(s) John Henry Deveraux
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1891 (1891)
Capacity 2500
Number of spires 1
Parish African Methodist Episcopal Church
District Seventh
Bishop(s) Richard Franklin Norris
Senior pastor(s) Rev. Norvel Goff, Sr. (interim)
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
Location Charleston, South Carolina
Architect John Henry Deveraux
Governing body Private
Part of Charleston Historic District (#66000964[1] 78002497[2])
Designated CP October 15, 1966 (1966-10-15)
July 16, 1978 (1978-07-16)

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, often referred to as Mother Emanuel, in Charleston, South Carolina, founded in 1816, is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern United States. Founded in the first year of the new denomination, the first independent black denomination in the United States, Emmanuel AME Church is one of the oldest black congregations south of Baltimore, Maryland.[3]


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • After the Civil War 1.2
    • 20th century 1.3
    • 21st century 1.4
  • Building 2
  • Documentary 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5



The church was founded in 1816 by African Americans who were former members of Charleston's Methodist Episcopal Church, which was dominated by whites, as were most churches in the South.[4] It was part of the "Bethel circuit" of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent black denomination in the United States, founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 by Richard Allen. They created an independent congregation because of a dispute over use of the black burial ground. The white-dominated churches, particularly the Methodist Episcopal Church, had increasingly discriminated against blacks in Charleston, and "capped the insult when they built a hearse house on the black burial ground."[5] In 1818 church leader Morris Brown left a white Methodist church in protest, and more than 4,000 Black members of the city's three Methodist churches followed him to create this new church.[6]

State and city ordinances at the time limited worship services by black people to daylight hours, required that a majority of congregants in a given church be white, and prohibited black literacy. In 1818, Charleston officials arrested 140 black church members and sentenced eight church leaders to fines and lashes. City officials again raided the church in 1820 and 1821 in a pattern of harassment.[7]

In 1822,

External links

  1. ^ "Old and Historic Charleston (Extend)" (PDF). National Park Service. Department of the Interior. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Old and Historic Charleston" (PDF). National Park Service. Department of the Interior. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Weisman, Jonathan (June 18, 2015). "Killings Add a Painful Chapter to Storied History of Charleston Church".  
  4. ^ Hardy, Rachel (2011). "The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina: From the "Invisible Institution" to the Indivisible Institution A Walking Tour" (PDF). Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW).  
  5. ^ a b c Curtis, Nancy C. (1996). Black Heritage Sites: An African American Odyssey and Finder's Guide. Chicago:  
  6. ^ Yee, Shirley. "Brown, Morris (1770-1849)". Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Egerton, Douglas R. (June 18, 2015). "The Long, Troubled History of Charleston's Emanuel AME Church". The New Republic.  
  8. ^ Kennedy, Lionel Henry; Parker, Thomas (1822). An Official Report of the Trials of Sundry Negroes Charged with an Attempt to Raise an Insurrection in the State of South-Carolina Preceded by an Introduction and Narrative and, in an Appendix, a Report of the Trials of Four White Persons on Indictments for Attempting to Excite the Slaves to Insurrection. Charleston [S.C.]: Printed by J.R. Schenck.  
  9. ^ Staff (June 18, 2015). "Nine shot, multiple fatalities reported in downtown church shooting".  
  10. ^ "US: at least 9 killed in Charleston church massacre". Euronews. June 16, 2015. 
  11. ^ Payne, Ed (June 18, 2015). "Charleston church shooting: Multiple fatalities in South Carolina, source says".  
  12. ^ "Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church". Reconstruction: The Second Civil War. PBS. December 19, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Mother Emanuel, Charleston, SC". 7th District AME Church, South Carolina. 7th District AME Office. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ Nicklass, Karen (October 19, 2013). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church" (PDF). Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ Peabody, Alvin (March 23, 1994). "Filling The Void: Young Ministers Seek To Replace Former Powerful Clergymen".  
  16. ^ a b c d McCaffrey, Scott (August 27, 1995). "Charleston Churches Endure - They Have Kept the Faith Through Natural Disasters and 2 Wars". Myrtle Beach Sun News. 
  17. ^ "Helping to Rebuild Churches: President Cleveland Sends Money to a Colored Pastor". Atlanta Constitution. October 27, 1886. 
  18. ^ Susan Millar Williams and Stephen G. Hoffus, Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow, University of Georgia Press, 2011: 158.
  19. ^ "Emanuel AME Church". Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ Samuel, Terence (October 27, 2003). "A New Political Gospel".  
  21. ^ "Perhaps the Best in the South". News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina). December 1, 1891. p. 8. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  22. ^ David H. Jackson Jr., "Booker T. Washington in South Carolina, March 1909." The South Carolina Historical Magazine 113.3 (July 2012): 192-220.
  23. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "Historic Landmark in Charleston". The Afro-American (Baltimore). March 10, 1951. 
  25. ^ "King vote team hits Charleston". The Afro-American (Baltimore). April 21, 1962. 
  26. ^ Golphin, Bruce (April 30, 1969). "Mrs. King to Lead Charleston March: Nixon Urged to Act In Charleston Strike". Washington Post. 
  27. ^ Keneally, Meghan (June 18, 2015). "Charleston South Carolina Church Where 9 Were Killed Was Steeped in History". ABC News. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  28. ^ Behre, Robert (October 28, 1998). "A man at the peak of his performance". The Post and Courier. 
  29. ^ Fox, William Price; McLaughlin, J. Michael (2008). South Carolina: A Guide to Unique Places. Globe Pequot. pp. 23–24.  
  30. ^ Pandolfi, Elizabeth (September 25, 2013). "African-American artists find a home at Emanuel AME Church". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  31. ^ Parker, Adam (November 28, 2010). "Mother Emanuel AME pastor follows in footsteps of 19th-century minister-lawmaker". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  32. ^ McLeod, Harriet (January 1, 2013). "Watch Night marks 150th anniversary of Lincoln's proclamation". Reuters. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  33. ^ Kropf, Schuyler (January 1, 2013). "Charleston Emancipation Proclamation Parade is today". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Parade marks 151 years since Emancipation Proclamation signing". ABC News 4. January 2, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ Munday, Dave (January 1, 2015). "Charleston's Emancipation Day Parade has a long and colorful history". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  36. ^ Bever, Lindsey; Costa, Robert (June 17, 2015). "'"9 dead in shooting at historic Charleston African American church. Police chief calls it 'hate crime..  
  37. ^ Johnson, M. Alex (June 17, 2015). This Was a Hate Crime': Nine People Killed at Historic South Carolina Church"'".  
  38. ^ Kumar, Anugrah (June 22, 2015). "Charleston's AME Church Holds First Service After Shooting; Rev. Norvel Goff Appointed New Interim Leader". The Christian Post. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  39. ^ a b "Oldest AME Church in the South Starts Elevator Fund Campaign". The Charleston Chronicle. December 17, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  40. ^ South Carolina SHPO (May 2014). "FY 2014 Federal Historic Preservation Grants" (PDF). Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  41. ^ Berry Hawes, Jennifer (October 13, 2013). "AME Church seeks funds to document its 150-year history in S.C.".  
  42. ^ Kelly Tyler, Ph.D., Rev. Mark (November 17, 2013). "The AME Movement: African Methodism in South Carolina".  


A producer of a documentary film, called The AME Movement: African Methodism in South Carolina, that describes the history of the AME church movement in South Carolina, held a Kickstarter fundraising campaign in 2013 but failed to reach its goal. Various interviews were conducted and filmed for the documentary.[41][42]


The building suffers from termite infestation, which in turn has led to "severe structural deterioration"; the church received a $12,330 federal historic preservation grant from the state of South Carolina to complete a structural investigation.[40]

Emanuel AME Church has one of the few well-preserved historic church interiors in the area, with original features including the altar, communion rail, pews, and light fixtures.[39] In December 2014, the church publicized fundraising to build an elevator to make the building more accessible.[39] A pipe organ was installed in 1902.[16] The church has a capacity of 2,500, making it among Charleston's largest black churches.[16]


Since June 17, 2015, the interim senior pastor has been Rev. Norvel Goff, Sr.[38]

On June 17, 2015, nine people were shot and killed inside the church. A 21-year-old white male suspect named Dylann Roof was arrested shortly after and charged with nine counts of murder. The killings are being investigated by law enforcement officials as a possible hate crime.[36] Senior pastor Pinckney was among those killed during the attack. The deceased also included congregation members Susie Jackson, 87; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; and Tywanza Sanders, 26.[37]

On December 31, 2012, the church held a watchnight service celebrating 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863.[32] Charleston's annual Emancipation Day Parade on January 1 ends at Emanuel AME Church.[33][34][35]

In 2010, senior pastor and state senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney was noted as following in the tradition of earlier church leaders, such as the Reverend Richard H. Cain, in serving as both a religious and political leader.[31]

As of 2008, the church had more than 1,600 members and assisted the Charleston Interfaith Crisis Ministry and other charities.[29] The church is involved in the local arts community, including hosting an art show in 2013 and concerts by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir.[30]

21st century

The church building was damaged in Hurricane Hugo in 1989.[16] Although major repairs were made, the tin roof soon rusted and leaked. It was changed out for interlocking copper shingles.[28]

At a 1962 church meeting, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Wyatt T. Walker of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were guest speakers, urging church members to register and vote.[25] At the time, most African Americans in the South were still disenfranchised, which they had been since the turn of the century when the white-dominated legislature passed restrictive conditions in a new constitution. In 1969 Coretta Scott King, then widowed after King's assassination, led a march of some 1,500 demonstrators to the church in support of striking hospital workers in Charleston.[26] At the church, they faced bayonet-wielding members of the South Carolina National Guard; the church's pastor and 900 demonstrators were arrested.[27]

By 1951, the church had 2,400 members and completed a $47,000 ($427 thousand in 2016 dollars[23]) renovation project. This earned an "outstanding improvement" award from the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.[24]

In March 1909, Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute and a national leader, spoke at Emanuel AME Church.[22] Among the attendees were many whites, including a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and Robert Goodwyn Rhett, the mayor of Charleston, lawyer and controlling owner of the News and Courier newspaper.

20th century

The current brick and stucco building was constructed in 1891.[19] This and other post-Civil War black churches were built on the north side of Calhoun Street; blacks were not welcome on the south side of what was known as Boundary Street when the church was built.[20] The building was designed by leading Charleston architect John Henry Devereux, whose work was begun in the spring of 1891 and completed in 1892.[21]

The congregation rebuilt the church between 1865 and 1872 as a wooden structure,[16] under the lead of the architect Robert Vesey, the son of the abolitionist and church co-founder Denmark Vesey.[7] After an earthquake demolished that building in 1886,[5] President Grover Cleveland donated ten dollars to the church to aid its rebuilding efforts, noting that he was "very glad to contribute something for so worthy a cause."[17] A Democrat, he also donated 20 dollars to the Confederate Home, a "haven for white widows."[18]

After the war ended, AME Bishop Daniel Payne installed the Reverend Richard H. Cain as the pastor of the congregations that would become Emanuel ("God with us") AME and Morris Brown AME[14] In 1872, after serving in the South Carolina Senate (1868-1872), Cain was elected as a Republican Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives, continuing a tradition of religious leaders serving in political positions.[15]

The Rev. Richard Cain, pastor of the church and member of the U.S. House of Representatives during Reconstruction

After the Civil War

In reaction to Nat Turner's slave rebellion, in 1834 the white-run city of Charleston outlawed all-black churches. The AME congregation met in secret until the end of the Civil War in 1865.[12][13]

Rev. Morris Brown was imprisoned for many months, though never convicted. Upon his release, he and several other prominent members fled to Philadelphia; others managed to reconstitute the congregation in a few years.

[11][10] After the congregation met underground for a period, it rebuilt the church after the Civil War.[9][5][3]. Additional trials took place over the following weeks, with more than 30 men executed and others deported from the state. Their original church was burned down by a crowd of angry whites.secret trial after a [8]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.