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“A” is for African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion

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“A” is for African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion. One of the seven largest black denominations, the AME Zion Church traces its beginnings to 1796 when A group of African Americans began meeting separately from the white-controlled John Street Methodist Church in New York City. Between 1821 and 1824 six black Methodist churches formed an independent denomination. Believing that seeking racial progress was a crucial component of Christian practice, the church played a major role in the anti-slavery movement. After the Civil War, Zionites participated in Reconstruction era government, resisted disenfranchisement and segregation, and promoted the twentieth century civil rights movement, In South Carolina the AME Zion Church was organizationally established in 1867. Though there are many African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches in South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama are areas of greater Zion strength.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.