CONDENSED HISTORY OF THE BLACK EPISCOPALIAN By Joyce Crittenden
In the early days of the Republic, the majority of Black Christians in America were Anglicans. The Church of England the “Mother Church” was the established church of many of the landowners. The landowners, settlers, and planters were not interested in the conversion of African slaves; however, the “Mother Church” was.
The story of the Black Episcopalians begins around 1624 when large groups of English missionaries were sent to America under the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.) to Christianize the Blacks and Indians. These baptized black slaves were the forebears of the Black Church of the Christian Gospel via the Anglican Church, later to be called the Episcopal Church. The response of the slaves and the eagerness of the missionaries was the basis for the survival of the Black Church.
An early example of the conversation effort is dated in 1695 under Samuel Thomas at Goose Creek Parish, South Carolina. By 1743 the S.P.G. had established a school in Charleston, South Carolina to train blacks for missionary work. Slaves were christianized and baptized but they had no church. They were not able to worship in the white Anglican Church.
After the American Revolution in 1783, slaves and free sought to establish themselves as a newly organized Anglican now the Episcopal Church.
The story of Richard Allen (1780-1831) and Absalom Jones(1746-1818) represents the beginning of the Black Church providing the Northern Black after the Revolution the setting for his own religious development.