Farmville in Prince Edward County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Beulah AME Church
—Prince Edward County —
A protest against segregated seating and restricted participation in worship at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Philadelphia was the spark that ultimately gave rise to the AME Church. Richard Allen, a Philadelphia-born slave, and 42 followers marched out of St. Johns in November 1796 to begin creating a church of their own. Richard Allen founded the AME Church in 1816 and became its first bishop.
Beulah AME Church has a long history of struggle for civil rights. Rev. J.W. Beckett, the church’s fourth pastor, led black students in demonstrations in the 1890s for the hiring of black teachers in the public schools. The demonstrations called attention to the fact that black teachers were graduating from other black schools and should be given the opportunity to teach their own people. As a result of these efforts, black teachers were hired in the county’s public school system. In 1896, also under Rev. Beckett’s tenure, the parsonage, which stands today alongside the church was built.
Rev. R.W. Barker, who pastored this parish for nine years,
Rev. A. I. Dunlap and Rev. Goodwin Douglas, both of Beulah AME Church, worked diligently with the community from 1959 to 1964 when the county public schools were closed to avoid integration. During this period, Rev. Douglas was arrested for organizing and participating in youth demonstrations. Rev. Dunlap, who had been associated with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, GE, persuaded Bishop Frank Madison Reid to allow the African-American Robert R. Moton High School Class of 1960 to complete their senior year at KittrelI College in North Carolina, while the county’s schools were closed.
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 27.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 37° 18.064′ N, 78° 23.603′ W. Marker is in Farmville, Virginia, in Prince Edward County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street (U.S. 15) and 4th Street, on the right when traveling south on South Main Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 115 South Main Street, Farmville VA 23901, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Main Street - Mayor J. David Crute - EACO Theatre (within shouting distance of this marker); First Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. William W. H. Thackston (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Veterans Monument (about 600 feet away); Four Sororities Founded (about 700 feet away); Farmville Female Seminary Association (approx. 0.2 miles away); Longwood University (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of the Randolph House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Farmville.
More about this marker. On the left are two photos with the captions:
"(Top Left) The Beulah AME Church, c.1916."
"(Bottom Left) Rev. Goodwin Douglas, a pastor of the Beulah AME Church, marches in protest with students in 1963 during the period of the public schools closings in Prince Edward County."
On the right is a drawing with the caption, "(Above) Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816 and became it first bishop."
Rev. Douglas photo copyright Richmond Times Dispatch - used by permission.
Also see . . .
1. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on May 31, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Farmville Beulah African Methodist Episcopal Church. (Submitted on May 31, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • African Americans • Churches, Etc. • Civil Rights • Education •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,056 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.