Documenting the American South Logo
Loading
Collections >> The Church in the Southern Black Community >> Document Menu >> Summary

C. S. Smith (Charles Spencer), 1852-1923
A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: Being a Volume Supplemental to A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, by Daniel Alexander Payne, D.D., LL.D., Late One of Its Bishops: Chronicling the Principal Events in the Advance of the African Methodist Episcopal Church from 1856 to 1922
Philadelphia: Book Concern of the A. M. E. Church, 1922.

Summary

Smith's History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was written as a supplemental volume to Bishop Daniel Payne's comprehensive 1891 History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He begins with what he calls "the agitation" in Philadelphia, from 1787 to 1816. Dividing the history of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church into six periods of expansion (1820-1898) and four periods of development (1844-1922), Smith carefully chronicles the principal events of the Church.

Smith chooses to begin much of his discussion in California and the South. He reports on the many obstacles the Church faced after emancipation, such as the Ku Klux Klan and lynching. This work examines topics such as overseas fundraising in England and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (guaranteeing full citizenship and equal protection of the law to African Americans). It also contains an interesting discussion of Bishop Turner's decision to ordain a woman to the order of deacon, and the subsequent repudiation of the act. Smith's work helpfully explores Bishop Turner's work in Africa, as well as World War I and its effects on the Church (and subsequent post-war problems). The History includes details of general and annual conferences and lists of Episcopal districts and assignments. A thorough appendix includes journals and minutes of conferences. A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is a comprehensive resource for readers interested in A.M.E. church history and African American history.

Nora Rubel

Document menu