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Asbury United Methodist Church

The Asbury United Methodist Church continues to be a prominent African American church in Washington, DC. It is significant to resistance to slavery through flight, because members were involved in the Pearl Affair, one of the largest attempted escapes in the United States before the Civil War. At least two enslaved members of the church, Emily and Mary Edmonson, were fleeing to freedom on the ship The Pearl when it was apprehended and returned to DC. These enslaved teenagers were sold to slave trader Joseph Bruin of Alexandria, VA, as a result of their attempted flight. Through their father's appeal to abolitionists in New York, money was raised to redeem them from enslavement. One letter of introduction to influential men in New York City was written by the white pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, Rev. Matthew Turner, and is reproduced in the introduction to James W. C. Pennington's book, The Fugitive Slave (1849). Edmonson family membership in Asbury United Methodist Church was reported in an article in the Anti-Slavery Bugle, published by the western branch of the Anti-Slavery Association in Salem, OH. The incident had an influence on Congressmen and authors like Harriet Beecher Stowe alike.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 11th & K Sts., NW, Washington, D. C., N/A, 20001

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Trustees Asbury UMC

Location Type: Site

Freedom Seekers: Emily and Mary Edmonson

Religious Denominations: Methodist