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Temple University, B.A., History, 2007; Villanova University, M.A., U.S. History, 2009.
“Building Bethel: The Creation of the AME Church In Philadelphia and Baltimore, 1790-1860”
dissertation focuses on the development of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church (AMEC) from 1790-1860. I seek to complicate the way we
understand the black church and the black independent church movement by
retelling a familiar history from a new perspective. My dissertation
focuses on two congregations, one located in Philadelphia and one
located in Baltimore, and their journeys to become “Bethels” within the
larger AME church. While Philadelphia functioned as a black capital of
sorts and a beacon of freedom, Baltimore was the home of a fasting
growing black community made up of both free and enslaved blacks. This
selection allows me to bridge the divide between the ways that scholars
have studied the religion of free blacks compared to the study of
enslaved blacks. Comparing these two congregations, I focus on how
issues of geography, legal status, class and gender shaped the
development of each congregation. Although both of these churches would
eventually become part of the larger AME, the paths that they took to
get there differed.