Upton in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Bethel A.M.E. Church
The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal congregation is the oldest independent black institution in Baltimore. Its origins date back to the late 18th century, when blacks withdrew from the parent Methodist Church in protest against racially segregated seating and lack of representation in church hierarchy. To exercise control over their own spiritual affairs, the dissenting blacks formed a "Free African Society," congregating for prayers and meetings in private homes. They soon adopted the name "Bethel," (a Hebrew word meaning house of God), and in 1817, acquired their first church building, the old German Lutheran Church on Fish Street (now Saratoga).
Bethel's first pastor was Daniel Coker, an eminent orator and educator who late became the first recognized missionary of the Church when he joined the colonization party that went to Liberia in 1820. In 1816 an organizing conference in Philadelphia formally established the national independent African Methodist Episcopal Church. Coker was elected the first bishop; he declined the post, however, and Richard Allen was appointed the following day. Fourteen of the former pastors of Bethel
In 1910 Bethel moved to this church, originally constructed in 1868 for St. Peter's Protestant Episcopal Church. It was one of several churches designed in "Norman Gothic" style by the Baltimore architects N.H. Hutton and John Murdoch.
Erected by the City of Baltimore, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Sponsor, and William Donald Schaefer, Mayor.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Architecture • Churches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church ⛪, and the Maryland, Baltimore City historical markers series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1817.
Location. 39° 18.119′ N, 76° 37.723′ W. Marker is in Upton in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of Druid Hill Avenue (Maryland Route 129) and West Lanvale Street, on the right when traveling south on Druid Hill Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1300 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore MD 21217, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Union Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Rev. Dr. Vernon Nathaniel Dodson Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Henry Highland Garnet Park (about 300 feet Creating an African American Neighborhood (about 400 feet away); Henry Highland Garnett School (about 400 feet away); Courting Justice (about 400 feet away); Foundation on Which to Build a Community (about 400 feet away); Sharp Street Memorial Church (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Upton.
More about this marker. The marker features two illustrations, one of the "Exterior of the old Bethel Church" and another of Daniel Coker.
Also see . . . Bethel A.M.E. Church website. (Submitted on March 15, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 3,283 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 26, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 2. submitted on March 15, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. 3. submitted on June 26, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 4. submitted on March 15, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.