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Will Gravely

African Methodist Episcopal minister and bishop, was born of mixed parentage in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent his early and middle years. Apparently self-educated, he worked as a boot maker and shoe repairman; he married Maria (maiden name unknown), with whom he had six children. Associated with the city's community of free people of color, Brown earned a reputation for assisting slaves in purchasing their freedom and for teaching and advising both free and enslaved African Americans in the region.

Soon after his religious conversion and his joining of the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church, Brown was licensed to preach. In that role he had greater access to the slave population as well as to groups of free African Americans. As the number of blacks grew, both generally and within the African church in Charleston, Brown emerged as their leader. As a result of an 1816 dispute over a ...

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Monte Hampton

preacher, shoemaker, and founder of the world's third oldest African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, was born in Charles City County, Virginia. Little is known of his parents, upbringing, or eventual marriage.

En route to Charleston in the 1780s Evans arrived in Fayetteville, North Carolina. According to William Capers, a Methodist bishop, Evans stayed in Fayetteville because “the people of his race in that town were wholly given to profanity and lewdness, never hearing preaching of any denomination, and living emphatically without hope and without God in the world.” Evans's initial efforts to instruct slaves in the vicinity of Fayetteville met with stout resistance from whites. Fearing that his preaching would incite sedition and insurrection, white officials jailed him. Eventually released, Evans continued his evangelistic efforts at clandestine meetings in the sand hills outside of town.

Evans's persistence paid off. By 1802 the public morals of the negroes ...

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Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

fourth bishop and first authorized missionary of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was born either in India, as he claimed definitively in the 1870 census, or in British Honduras (now Belize), which he never claimed directly. An 1851 affidavit attesting to Quinn's birth in Honduras may have been executed to provide protection against detainment or kidnapping during the turbulence following the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. His father appears to have been a mahogany dealer of either Spanish or Indian (Asian) descent. The Honduran version of his birth indicates that his mother was from what was then Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

The India version of Quinn's birth states that he was born in Hindustan, near Calcutta. Quinn appears to have been interviewed for an 1865 Richmond Indiana city directory where he claimed Hindustan as his birthplace His birth into an English speaking environment seems indisputable however because ...