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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was attached to the Galena Conference, and was organized on November 26, 1870, with seven members, and W. J.-Davis, Elder. The Rev. Cheek was the pastor of the church in 1876. He had come to Dubuque as a missionary in September. With no church or organized congregation, he held services in private homes and then invited potential members to attend the CENTENARY CHURCH on Thursday evenings to visit with other people. The ladies of the church established an aid society. (1)

In July 1880 the congregation used to Dubuque Herald to appeal for funds with which to purchase a lot on which to construct a church. (2) In August 1880 the newspaper printed the following response:

                             Help a Good Cause
       The African Methodist Episcopal congregation have purchased a lot
       at the rear of the LORIMIER HOUSE north of Julien Avenue, on
       which they design erecting a church building at a cost of about
       $1000. The have paid $150 for the lot. Their desire is to have a
       place of worship commensurate with their means, free from mortgages
       or other encumberances, and to this end they mean to exert them-
       selves and spare no effort. They are weak of themselves numerically
       and financially, but they have claims for kindly consideration from
       the people of Dubuque which we have full confidence will be
       considered favorably in their behalf now when they are in need of
       kindly encouragement.  They have struggled heroically and in a manner
       which challenges admiration to preserve their church organization here
       in the face of much that was calculated to discourage them, and for
       this they deserve credit and approval. Of themselves they cannot do
       much, but with a little aid such as many of our people can well afford
       to give, they can accomplish all they aim at or hope for. They will
       call upon our citizens to assist them in their efforts to build their
       church and it is hoped that they will meet with the realization of
       their most sanguine expectations. The colored people of Dubuque ought
       not to appeal in vain for a house of worship. (3)

The congregation held a festival and supper in September 1880 at the DUBUQUE CITY HALL to pay the remainder of their minister's salary. (4)

On December 31, 1880 the congregation held its annual watch ceremony seeing the old year out and the new year in with "exercises and rejoicing observed on such occasions." (5)

The Christian Recorder “Published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, for the Dissemination of Religion, Morality, Literature and Science.” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was first published in 1854 under the direction of the Rev. J.P. Campbell. This early edition was short-lived. In 1861, under the guidance of Elisha Weaver, the New Series, Volume 1 began. The Recorder was introduced into the South by distribution among the black regiments in the Union army. Benjamin T. Tanner became editor in 1867, and was followed in that position in 1885 by the Rev. Benjamin F. Lee who served until 1892. The Recorder provided images of the situation for blacks throughout the country. The Information Wanted page continued for years, week after week; with inquiries about broken families, the enforced separations of parents, children, brothers, sisters, all relationships, created by slavery in the South. (6)

In 1911 the congregation numbered 150 communicants.



1. "The Colored Church," Dubuque Herald, December 22, 1876, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18761222&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "An Appeal to the Public," Dubuque Herald, July 15, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18800715&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. "Help a Good Cause," Dubuque Herald, August 12, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18800812&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, September 5, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18800905&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, January 1, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18810101&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

6. "The Christian Recorder," Accessible Archives. Online: http://www.accessible-archives.com/collections/african-american-newspapers/the-christian-recorder/