The first Black churches were established in the Revolutionary War period in South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. Some authorities believe the first Black church was a Baptist church established between 1773 and 1775 at
Silver Bluff, S.C. across the Savannah River from Augusta, Ga.
The first Black church in the North was the African Church of St. Thomas, which was dedicated in Philadelphia on July 17, 1794. On August 12, 1794 the St. Thomas parishoners affiliated with the
Episcopal Church. Richard Allen and his followers organized Philadelphia's Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in July, 1794.
The first Black minister certified by a predominantly White denomination was Lemuel Haynes, who was licensed to preach in the Congregational Church in 1780. Haynes was also the first Black pastor of a White church in
Torrington, Conneticut. In 1818 he was called to a White church in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The first Black Bishop was Richard Allen, who was elected at a general convention of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia on April 10, 1816. James Varick was named bishop of the African Methodist
Episcopal Zion Church on July 30, 1822.
The first Black bishop of a predominantly White denomination was James A. Healy, who was consecrated bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese in Maine on June 2, 1875. The first Black Roman Catholic bishop in the 20th
century was Harold R. Perry, who was consecrated in New Orleans January 6, 1966.
The first Black bishop to head an Episcopal diocese in America was John M. Burgess, who was installed as bishop of Massachusetts on January 17, 1970. On September 24, 1977 John T. Walker was installed as the sixth bishop
of the Episcopal diocese of Washington, D.C.
The first Black Methodist bishops to head predominantly White districts were Prince A. Taylor and James Thomas. Rev. Taylor was elected bishop of New Jersey on June 25, 1964.
Rev. Thomas was elected bishop of Iowa on July 10, 1964.
The first Black president of the predominantly White American Baptist convention was Thomas Kilgore Jr., who was elected at the annual convention in Boston on May 17, 1969.
The first Black president of the National Council of Churches was W. Sterling Cary, who was elected on December 7, 1972.
The first Black moderator of the United Presbyterian Church was Dr. Marshall Logan Scott, who was elected on May 17, 1962.
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