Bottom: Carole Copeland Thomas and the AME Logo
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Summer is the season for all kinds of conventions and conferences in the African American community. We'll highlight two recently held meetings held in New Orleans and Nashville respectively.
The National Association of Black Journalists National Conference (NABJ) held in New Orleans and The 49th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church held in Nashville.
With thousands of members in attendance NABJ and the AME General Conference are examples of Black leadership in action.
Award winning journalist Kelley Chunn gives us an update on the NABJ convention. Your host, Carole Copeland Thomas (whose AME roots go back seven generations) brings highlights of the AME Church General Conference.
About The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide.
Founded by 44 men and women on December 12, 1975, in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation.
Many of NABJ's members also belong to one of the professional and student chapters that serve black journalists nationwide.
About The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)
The word African means that the church was organized by people of African descent and heritage. It does not mean that the church was founded in Africa, or that it was for persons of African descent only.
The church's roots are of the family of Methodist churches. Methodism provides an orderly system of rules and regulations and places emphasis on a plain and simple gospel.
Episcopal refers to the form of government under which the church operates. The chief executive and administrative officers of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination are the Bishops of the church.
The AMEC grew out of the Free African Society (FAS) which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. When officials at St. George’s MEC pulled blacks off their knees while praying, FAS members discovered just how far American Methodists would go to enforce racial discrimination against African Americans.
Hence, these members of St. George’s made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodists. In 1794 Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor.
To establish Bethel’s independence from interfering white Methodists, Allen, a former Delaware slave, successfully sued in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807 and 1815 for the right of his congregation to exist as an independent institution. Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the AME.
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