“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Natchez in Adams County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Natchez Trails

Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church Marker image. Click for full size.
May 27, 2017
1. Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church Marker
Henry Gurney photographed Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church in 1866, the year the congregation bought the building built in 1858 as the Second Presbyterian Church. Zion Chapel had earlier purchased the Methodist Church that fronted Union Street between Main and Franklin streets, but fire destroyed it shortly afterwards.

A month before the sitting of the Annual Conference, the [minister Henry A. Jackson] seemed sensible of his death, and said to his members...that he had preached East and West, North and South...and now he had just as soon go to heaven from Natchez, as from any other point...a mighty man...has fallen...Just before he died, he said to one of the members, "Be still, be quiet, until I cross over."

"Letter from Natchez,"Christian
Pennsylvania, March 1, 1877

Hiram R. Revels was the pastor of Zion Church in 1899 when the congregation acquired the church building. He served in the Mississippi Legislature, which elected him to the United States Senate, where he became the first black man in either house of Congress. He later served as president of Alcorn College.

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than a century, the house at 15 St. Catherine Street has served s the parsonage for Zion Chapel. It was built in the late 1880s on the hill across from where Holy Family Church now stands.

About 1880 what appears to be a "snake oil" salesman stopped his wagon in front of Zion Chapel to peddle his medicines. His handling of a real snake may have added credibility to his product, which may or may not have really contained snake oil, once touted as a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis and other similar conditions.

Ward Academy belongs to the A.M.E. church ... The trustees have purchased a beautiful site on the north side of St. Catherine Street at a cost of $800.... Last year we closed with one hundred and seventy students...For information about the Ward Academy, write to W.H. Coleman, 39 St. Catherine Street. Natchez, MISS.

"Ward Academy,"Christian
Pennsylvania, October 22, 1891

Natchez had about 15,000 inhabitants.... Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church was the largest, most intelligent, wealthiest and most influential church in the Mississippi Conference.

Revels A. Adams,Cyclopedia
of African Methodism in

Church member Julie Walker Harrison (far right) wrote and produced one of the early performances of the African American folk drama Heaven Bound as

Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cajun Scrambler, May 27, 2017
2. Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church Marker
a Pilgrimage tour entertainment in 1932. Heaven Bound pioneered black theater in the south and avoided stereotypes like racial dialect.

Zion Chapel served as Red Cross headquarters in the aftermath of the nearby Rhythm Night Club fire in 1940. Considered to be one of the most devastating fires in American History, the accidental fire killed 209 African Americans, many of whom died from smoke inhalation.
Erected by City of Natchez.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and the Mississippi - Natchez Trails series lists.
Location. 31° 33.551′ N, 91° 23.903′ W. Marker is in Natchez, Mississippi, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of North Martin Luther King Street and St. Catherine Street, on the right when traveling west on North Martin Luther King Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Natchez MS 39120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Churches in the St. Catherine Street Neighborhood (here, next to this marker); Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church (within shouting distance of this marker); 300 Block of Martin Luther King Street (within shouting

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distance of this marker); Views of St. Catherine Street - Western End (within shouting distance of this marker); Rhythm Night Club (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rhythm Club Fire (about 300 feet away); Intersection of Jefferson and North Rankin streets (about 400 feet away); Hospital Hill Neighborhood (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Natchez.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2017. It was originally submitted on November 23, 2017, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 530 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 24, 2017.

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Feb. 21, 2024