Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Mother Bethel) was founded in Philadelphia in 1794 by Richard Allen. Allen had once been enslaved and understood the plight of those still held in bondage. Mother Bethel has been recognized as an abolitionist and an emancipationist church. Members were active with the Free African Society, a mutual aid society founded in 1787, known for assisting the enslaved on the UGRR. Members were also part of the local Vigilance Committee, Prince Hall Masons and Free Produce Association. The church was also the first to hold a national convention of Africans in 1830 and would later host many other abolitionist meetings and forums for many of the nation’s great orators. Allen was a champion of the anti-slavery cause, and he became a spokesman for his people on both local and national issues. The bishops that followed in his footsteps would go on to establish churches and educational institutions within the United States, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Canada.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 419 Richard Allen Ave, 419 S. 6th Street, Philadelphia, 19147
National Park Unit: Yes
Ownership: Jeffrey Leath
Location Type: Site