AfriGeneas Schools, Organizations, Churches and Institutions Forum
Harlem church in NY celebrates 200 years
Famed Harlem church in New York celebrates 200 years
NEW YORK: When the Abyssinian Baptist Church was founded, Thomas Jefferson was president. Abraham Lincoln was not born yet. Blacks were still enslaved, and would be for decades more.
A group of Ethiopian sea traders in lower Manhattan refused to participate in segregated church services and formed their own congregation, naming it for their homeland and taking many free blacks from other churches with them.
Two hundred years later, the church is going back to its roots — literally.
Come September, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III will lead a pilgrimage of about 200 church members and dignitaries on a pilgrimage to Ethiopia to mark the bicentennial anniversary of the church.
The trip, he says, will highlight an observance that begins on Tuesday and will end in November 2008, the actual 200th anniversary of the church's origin.