The origins of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church lay in a controversy over segregation rules at St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia in 1787.
The white elders ordered black members of the congregation to sit in a separate gallery.
Several African-Americans, including Richard Allen, an ex-slave and lay preacher, refused, founding their own Methodist congregation, the Bethel Church.
In 1816, Allen went further, founding the A.M.E. Church, the first independent, black-run Protestant denomination.
The A.M.E. church became active in philanthropy, education, and the abolitionist movement.