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Bethel A.M.E. - Richmond, IN

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

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.