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Bethel A.M.E. - Richmond, IN

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, organized in September 1836 in Richmond, Indiana. It was organized by AME missionary William Paul Quinn, one of dozens of churches he founded during his life; Quinn would later make his permanent home in Richmond.

The church began with 54 members. Its first permanent building was a relocated two-story frame warehouse which was then renovated by the congregation into a church and school. In the first half of the nineteenth century, African Americans had few opportunities for state-sponsored education in the Midwest, so churches such as Bethel AME provided educational services. As a city founded and largely populated by abolitionist Quakers, Richmond was a haven for free blacks in the nineteenth century. Bethel AME Church served as the socio-cultural center of the African American community in Richmond.

The church’s current building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.