tomorrow begins the bicentennial of the a.m.e. church in philadelphia, but they still don’t honor their dead in chester county, pa

13533075_900144076760594_3309194531261614814_nRichard Allen (February 14, 1760  to March 26, 1831 was a minister, educator, writer and one of this country’s original, most active, and influential black leaders.  In 1794 he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. This was the first black denomination and independent church in the US.  The first actual church opened in richardallenautobio_halfPhiladelphia in 1794.

Richard Allen was born into slavery on one of the properties of Benjamin Chew as another piece of property because he was a slave.  He bought his freedom around 1780 at the age of 20 from a subsequent master named Stokeley Sturgis.

In 1816 the AME church was founded more formally and Allen was elected the first Bishop. He had bee a minister for years prior to this and Mother Bethel in Philadelphia actually first opened her doors to worship around 1794.  Bishop Allen organized this religious denomination where freed blacks could worship without racial oppression and where slaves could find dignity and a welcoming place. He worked to literally lift up the black community, also organizing  schools to teach literacy arichard allen muralnd promoting national organizations to develop political strategies. Bishop Allen died the year Ebenezer A.M.E. at 97 Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, PA Chester County opened.

Tomorrow July 6, 2016, leaders and members of the A.M.E. Church descend on Philadelphia to celebrate their Bicentennial in the city where it all began.

Festivities over the past few days in advance include the unveiling of a beautiful bronze statue of Richard Allen and a mural too.  Some very kind people thought enough to send me photos.

They are all a twitter (literally) over this magnanimous and festive and historic occasion. They are tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming. It’s all about the bicentennial. You can sign up to watch it stream, attend galas, pay $5 to have your photo taken in front of a special paparazzi walk banner.  ‪#‎IamAME‬‪#‎a200mecgc2016‬ are their hashtags of choice

They have ALL sorts of money to spruce up Mother Bethel, throw parties, rent a giant big city convention center and yet….wait for it…. those of us who have been contacting the A.M.E. Church nationally and regionally for YEARS still want to know when they will honor their dead on Bacton Hill Road.

The A.M.E. Church elders are veritable slum lords to their dead and I find that disgraceful. 

On June 25th their First District tweeted at me:

June 25

Let’s see how do I say this? Straight out? THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Their history, their dead, our country’s history – it is all in this ruin of a church and a cemetery of folks of a local A.M.E. Church founded only 30 some odd years AFTER the entire religious organization was founded and they opened their doors the year Bishop Richard Allen died.

EBeneWHY DON’T THEY CARE ABOUT THEIR HISTORY? Is it all about the money they make today saying they value their history at their bicentennial? If they can pay for the bicentennial in Philadelphia are you telling me that these religious hypocrites can’t pay to clean up Ebenezer’s ruins on Bacton Hill Road? People from Tredyffrin, Malvern, East Whiteland, West Chester, and West Vincent just to name a few local municipalities (and this doesn’t take into consideration the people from other areas of the east coast and country who probably do not even realize they have ancestors there.

Ebenenezer A.M.E. is so badly overgrown at this point that NO ONE can pay their respects to the dead. There are (again) freed slaves there and black civil war soldiers. Surely their lives mean SOMETHING to the A.M.E. Church? I am appalled that as of tomorrow they will be preaching the word of God and talking about their 200 years of history and an hour outside Philadelphia and about 20 minutes from Valley Forge, they have just blown off their responsibility on a land parcel the NATIONAL A.M.E. Church STILL OWNS!  

The A.M.E. Church elders are veritable slum lords to their dead and I find that disgraceful. 

Someone wrote to me recently:

I am afraid you will get NO cooperation or interest from anyone there. Shame is the only press they understand—maybe  a local news station could bring attention to it.
 
I feel bad for local families with graves in the cemetery who cannot pay their respects.
Yeah so media, how about it? How about a little field trip? This is what you will see:
ame frazer
If the A.M.E. took care of their history and honored their dead it could look like these photos from a clean up OTHER people did in 2011:
ebenezer 2011 1 ebenezer 2011
You can check the archives of this place, I have written about this for multiple years at this point if you are interested.  Here is the link to the boy scout report of many moons ago – if you look through it you will see names of the dead buried here that people know of:

 

And yes, there is now also a social media movement to save Ebenezer A.M.E. on Bacton Hill Road:

save ebe

Feel free to LIKE and SHARE.

#thisplacematters

A.M.E. Church can you hear us now? Do you care about your history and your dead? Or are you just all about the party and bicentennial media hype?

What would Bishop Richard Allen do?  What would Bishop Richard Allen say? I think he would be sorely disappointed in the stewards of the church and religious movement he founded.

bishop-richard-allen-stamp-1

The A.M.E. Church elders are veritable slum lords to their dead and I find that disgraceful. 

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