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Title 108-110 Calhoun Street (Emanuel AME Church)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content The original congregation of this church, consisting of free blacks and slaves, was organized in 1791 as the Free African Society, which built a church in the vicinity of Hanover and Amherst Streets. The congregation joined in 1818 the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the name was changed to the Bethel Circuit. Morris Brown, a free black preacher, led the movement in Charleston to organize black Methodists into an independent organization. The Bethel Circuit, in 1818, had about 1,000 members. In 1822, after the alleged Denmark Vesey plot was discovered, the church was investigated because Vesey had been a founder. The church was burned as a result of the controversy. It was rebuilt and continued in operation until 1834, when a law closed all black churches. Morris Brown was found innocent of any connection with the alleged plot but he was pressured into leaving the state and went to Philadelphia. The congregation met in secret until 1865, when it was formally reorganized. The name Bethel was changed to Emanuel by Rev. Richard Cain, a black minister from the north. A church was built in 1872 on the present site. It was damaged by the 1886 earthquake and was razed and replaced in 1891 by the present structure in the Gothic Revival style, credited to builder Henry Zacharias.

File contains newspaper articles (including DYKYC); house history from Information for Guides of Historic Charleston; house history from City of Charleston Tour Guide Training manual; excerpt from Historic Churches of Charleston (Lilly, 1966); excerpt (photo) from News & Courier section on Hurricane Gracie (1969); excerpt from Charleston: Yesterday and Today (Trouche, 2009); Hurricane Hugo Damage Assessment survey; copies of photographs ca. 1900s; staff research notes (handwritten).
Subjects Church buildings
Emanuel A.M.E. Church (Charleston, S.C.)
African American churches
Search Terms Churches/Synagogues/Houses of Worship
Calhoun Street
Physical Description 1 File Folder
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Object ID # CALHOUN.108-110.01