Established a church during the American Revolutioon
During the Revolutionary War
Absalom Jones was born into slavery in Sussex County, Delaware on November 6, 1746. During the 72 years of his life, he grew to become one of the foremost leaders among persons of African descent during the post-revolutionary period. In his younger years in Delaware, Absalom sought help to learn to read. When he was 16, his owner Benjamin Wynkoop brought him to Philadelphia where he served as a clerk and handyman in a retail store. He was able to work for himself in the evenings and keep his earnings. He also briefly attended a school run by the Quakers where he learned mathematics and handwriting. In 1770, he married Mary Thomas and purchased her freedom. It was until 1784 that he obtained his own freedom through manumission. He also owned several properties.
In 1792, under the dual leadership of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, “The African Church” was organized as a direct outgrowth of the Free African Society. Both Jones and Allen wished to affiliate with the Methodists, but the majority of the congregation favored the Episcopal Church.
During the severe yellow fever epidemic of 1793, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen mobilized the Black community to care for the afflicted. In 1797 and 1799 Absalom Jones, with other free Africans, presented tenable petitions to Congress and to the President of the United States opposing slavery. Two schools and supportive services for the Black community developed under his leadership.
Piece of the American Puzzle
A.M.E. Zion Church Today
A.M.E. Zion Church Worldwide
The church grew rapidly with the ordination of black ministers, but was mostly confined to the northern United States until the conclusion of the American Civil War. In the first decade after the war, together with the AME Church, it sent missionaries to the South to aid freedmen. The two African-American denominations gained hundreds of thousands of new members in the South, who responded to their missionaries and organizing efforts. Today, the AME Zion church has more than 1.4 million members, with outreach activities in many areas around the world. An individual member is sometimes referred to as being a "Zion Methodist".
The AME Zion church has been in negotiations for many years to merge with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church into a tentatively named Christian Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The plan was originally for unification by 2004. The AME Zion church has insisted on continuing to have "African" in the name. AME Zion church is very similar in doctrine and practice to CME church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church