Posts Tagged AME Church

Washington Informer: “The Lost History of Frederick Douglass and the Black Church” (February 25, 2021; John Muller & Justin McNeil)

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“Moving forward there remains an incredible opportunity to mobilize existing church and faith-based networks and communities within the District and Baltimore metropolitan regions to share a more complete story of Frederick Douglass and the Black Church.”

— Read full op-ed HERE! —

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VIDEO: Ceres Bethel AME Church, 1870 (Frederick County, Maryland) ** Lost History Associates field report **

Ceres Bethel AME Church field report; script by John H. Muller & Justin L. McNeil

Good morning; local and international preservationists, public educators and street historians. 

Journalist and author John Muller here; reporting live from Burkittsville, Maryland within the old Petersville District of Frederick County with a special Lost History Associates report on Ceres Bethel A.M.E. Church. 

We are gathered here, ladies and gentleman, as a service, and in response to several public preservation and historic organizations that exclusively exist due to the public treasury, as well as private organizations largely, or nearly entirely, supported by the public treasury. That means … you and I … are solely responsible for the existence of these organizations that have failed to interpret and convey our collective history and properly interpret this historic site.

More specifically, Preservation Maryland has recently announced their plans, backed with a $100,000 grant from the public treasury — from you and I —  to “re-brand” the Battle of South Mountain, the ground on which we stand, and the overlaying Gathland State Park, the home of journalist and author George Alfred Townsend. 

Within the administrative grid-lock of do-nothing administrators that have an interest in this historic site, owned by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, are Liz Shatto with the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, Elizabeth Hughes, director of the Maryland Historical Trust, Drew Gruber with Civil War Trails, as well as preservation organizations and Black American history and culture groups, such as the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, specifically the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis and my good friend Reggie Turner, of the Western Maryland Community Development Corporation, who I have worked closely with on the lost history in Hagerstown, in nearby Washington County. 

With no further delay, ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk about Ceres Bethel A.M.E. Church, a sacred site in local, regional and national history and folklore. 

As master battlefield scholars can confirm, during the engagement of Union & Confederate troops at the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam in September 1862, local African Methodist Episcopal churches where extant today; were extant then within the theatre of war. 

Specifically, troops maneuvered around the wood-framed Ceres Bethel church as they took and changed positions during the Battle of South Mountain. Caught between rifle shot and shell, the original church building was a casualty of the American Civil War. 

In Frederick City, Quinn Chapel AME Church on 3rd Street served as a makeshift hospital for soldiers wounded during the Battle of Antietam. The pastor of Quinn Chapel during the Civil War was Bishop Alexander Walker Wayman, born 1821 in Caroline County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. 

On April 3, 1870 that same Bishop Wayman, alongside Rev. Lloyd Benson, laid the cornerstone for the new Ceres Bethel AME Church right here in the Petersville District. In 2020, Lost History USA celebrates the sesquicentennial of Ceres Bethel and so should you. 

Why is this church important, you may be asking? 

Despite hundreds of thousands of public dollars devoted to uplifting local history in Western Maryland and Frederick County, and specifically local Black American history and heritage in Western Maryland and Frederick County, there is no existing representation with road markers or heritage markers, nor any contemporary published material that tells this lost history of Ceres Bethel . 

Lost History USA has accumulated an extensive report on Ceres Bethel and will be unveiling our own historic markers on site in February 2021, of which local elected officials, media and the public will be invited and asked to speak. 

On these markers, we will include information on Rev. Lloyd Benson, Bishop Wayman, Rev. Henry, as well as young men and women from Burkittsville, Maryland and the surrounding communities who attended the primary school on these grounds. 

The schoolhouse at Ceres Bethel, initially affiliated and supported by members of the church, philanthropic networks and the Freedmen’s Bureau, led by General Oliver Otis Howard, must be properly contextualized. 

While Tolson’s Chapel in Washington County’s Sharpsburg has been the focus of National Park Service grants, contracts and studies, Ceres Bethel has evanded attention – resulting in its current state of disrepair and abandonment. 

For Preservation Maryland, and all the other local, regional, and state stakeholders, you have an obligation and responsibility to get your collective heads out of your ass. 

Pupils from the Ceres Bethel Schoolhouse were socially and academically prepared here, on the ground we currently stand, to go forth to Howard University in Washington, D.C. with students from around the country and world. 

Students from these descendant Mountain Maryland communities excelled within the ranks of the medical and theological departments of Howard University, as well as other nearby institutions of higher learning including Storer College in Harpers Ferry and Morgan State in Baltimore City. 

Graduates of the Ceres Bethel Schoolhouse returned to this community and communities throughout Frederick County to fill leadership positions within local institutions to uplift and prepare the next generation to contribute to their families and their state.

Why has this history not been told and returned to where it belongs?

For more information visit, visit 

We look forward to seeing you soon.

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Note on Rev. Dr. Pharaoh Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass among contemporary men of God -> “The Late Bishop Payne. A Monument in His Honor Unveiled at Baltimore.” (May 1894)

Bishop Alexander Walker Wayman and Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, both of whom were buried in Laurel Cemetery. Coming up out an African Methodist church erected in a Fell’s Point alley following American Independence Pharaoh Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass emerged within ranks of the most consequential religious leaders of America’s antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Among the most respected of America’s African-American reverends and educators who travelled the world establishing outposts of the church and their compensatory schools Pharaoh Douglass was always offered opportunity to teach Sunday school and Bible study, a tradition he maintained from his days in St. Michaels in the 1830s until his last day on earth.

Throughout his life Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass ran and prayed from country camp revivals to town and city street corners to the lecture stages and halls of universities among white and black faith leaders within circles of African Methodists, Methodist Episcopalians, Baptists, Protestants, Congregationalists, Unitarian Universalists, Quakers, Hebrews and Mohammedans.

Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass aided men of God building institutions that maintain today as men of God enlisted the aid of Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass building, developing, and guarding institutions furthering faith and education.

Along with the early founders of Howard University, in which Dr. Rev. Pharaoh Douglass served as a board member from 1871 until his death, men of God who aided in founding Morgan State University in Baltimore City and American University in Washington, D.C. ran with Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass.

In May 1894 Bishop John Fletcher Hurst and Reverend Lyttleton Morgan joined arms in brotherly remembrance and honor with Dr. Douglass, Bishop Alexander Wayman, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Rev. Dr. John W. E. Bowen and other men of God to remember the late Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne.

Despite numerous accolades and laudatory reviews, David Blight’s deeply flawed Prophet of Freedom fails to place Douglass within this vast network of men of God.

Therefore Blight’s singular reference to Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne in Prophet of Freedom is blasphemous.

Evening Star _ 22 May 1894. p 9 - Payne Monument in Baltimore_ cropTHE LATE BISHOP PAYNE.

A Monument in His Honor Unveiled at Baltimore.

The monument to the memory of the late Bishop Daniel A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., who was the senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was unveiled yesterday afternoon at Laurel Cemetery, in the northeastern suburbs of Baltimore, in the presence of a large number of colored people.

The exercises included addresses by Rev. Dr. J. H. A. Johnson of Ellicott City, Frederick Douglass and Rev. Dr. W. B. Derrick of New York, and prayer by Rev. Dr. L. F. Morgan, prior to the unveiling by Bishop H. M. Turner, D. D., of Georgia.

Rev. John Hurt read the names of the contributors to the monument fund and Rev. J. G. Morris, D. D., closed the services by pronouncing the benediction. On the stand, besides the above, were Bishop W. J. Gaines, D. D., Bishop J. A. Hunter of Kansas, Bishop M. B. Salters of South Carolina, Bishop A. W. Wayman, Rev. J. M. Bowen and others.


Evening Star, 22 May, 1894, p. 9.

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Thank you, Hagerstown, Maryland for embracing the lost history of Frederick Douglass in your community. (pictures)

In preparation for two upcoming presentations in Hagerstown, Maryland about the lost history of Frederick Douglass visiting the “Hub City” in April 1879 I recently had the pleasure of offering a preview talk at Ebenezer AME Church at 26 Bethel Street and a preview walking tour.

Special thanks to Mr. Ron Lytle of the African-American Historical Association of Western Maryland, Pastor Donald Marbury of Ebenezer AME, Commissioner Reggie Turner of the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, Rachel Nichols of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and the crew of the WDVM-TV for braving the elements. Additional thanks to Dan Spedden and his staff at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Looking forward to the upcoming television special and presentations Tuesday, February 12th at the Fletcher Branch Library in downtown Hagerstown at 7:00 PM and Saturday, February 16th at Ebenezer AME Church at 2:00 PM.


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“The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland” (Feb. 16, 2019 2:00 pm @ Ebenezer AME Church – 26 Bethel Street, Hagerstown, Maryland)

Frederick-Douglass in Hagerstown _ Feb 16, 2019

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