Metropolitan AME Almanac

Timeline of Historic Events (courtesy of member Thelma Dean Jacobs)

1881

Last service held at the "old" Union Bethel A.M.E. Church. Church was demolished and construction of the new Metropolitan A.M.E. Church began.  

1881

Cornerstone laying ceremony held at site of the new Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street, NW, Washington, DC. Bishop Alexander Wayman and other eminent A.M.E. church Divines conducted the ceremony.  

1886

New "national" Metropolitan A.M.E. Church building dedicated. Senior A.M.E. Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne preached dedicatory sermon.  

1887

Funeral service held for The Right Reverend Richard Harvey Cain, 14th A.M.E. bishop.  

1887

Funeral service held for The Right Reverend James Shorter, 9th A.M.E. bishop.  

1887

Memorial service held for US Army Civil War General John A. Logan. He is credited with starting Memorial Day observance to honor the deceased who served this country.  

1887

Service held to commemorate the 65th birthday of the late US President Ulysses S. Grant, former president and US Army Civil War General who died in 1885.  

1889

A grand testimonial concert of vocal and instrumental music and a drill exhibition was hosted to honor US Army Major Christian Abraham Fleetwood. Major Fleetwood was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Civil War when he was a Sergeant Major with the 4th US Colored Troops.  

1890

Frederick Douglass delivered a lecture "The Race Question." This speech was widely read, reprinted, and distributed nationwide. In 1996, during Metropolitan's African American History Month celebration a copy of the 1890 printed text of this speech was donated to the church archives from the Mark Mitchell Collection.

1891

The Second Session of the World Ecumenical Methodist Conference met in Washington, DC, and an evening program and reception for the delegates was hosted.  

1891

The Honorable Frederick Douglass, US Minister and Consul General to Haiti, discussed his two years in Haiti and gave reasons he resigned the appointment and returned home in July 1891.  

1893

Ida B. Wells, newspaper reporter, delivered a speech condemning lynching.  

1894

Frederick Douglass delivered his last great speech "The Lesson of the Hour" from the pulpit of Metropolitan A.M.E. Church. The statesman assailed lynching of African Americans in the United States.  

1894

Memorial service held for The Rt. Rev. Thomas M.D. Ward, 10th A.M.E. bishop.  

1895

Funeral service held for Frederick Douglass. The Douglass family was joined by US Senators, Supreme Court Justices, the President of Howard University, and other dignitaries at the requiem for the then best known African American in the world.  

1895

Funeral service held for Mrs. Laura Cain, widow of The Rt. Rev. Richard Cain, 14th A.M.E. bishop.  

1896

 Mrs. Grover Cleveland, wife of the US President, attended and was a patroness for a concert benefitting a Colored Girl’s Orphan Home.  

1898

Blanche Kelso Bruce died in Washington, DC. Elected in 1874 to represent Mississippi, he was the first African American to serve a full term in the US Senate. Bruce’s funeral was attended by over 3,000 mourners.  

1901

A testimonial evening was held for former US Congressman George Henry White (R-NC), one of the last African Americans elected in the 19th century to serve in the Congress. No African American served in Congress from 1901-1929.  

1903

An inaugural concert of Washington, DC's "Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Choral Society” was hosted. The Society, named for the Afro-British composer, featured his oratorio "Hiawatha" with soloists and orchestra in this Washington debut. Harry Thacker Burleigh was a soloist and Metropolitan's Professor John Layton was choir director.  

1904

A citation was presented to Booker T. Washington; church's Trustee Board saluted educator for his work at Tuskegee Institute (now University). Citation now hangs in Booker T. Washington’s home on the Tuskegee campus in Alabama.  

1909

Tribute held for Ex-Senator Joseph B. Foraker (R-Ohio), a Union Army Civil War officer, honored for his support of the African American US Army soldiers who were summarily discharged without a hearing by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. 

1909

Funeral service held for The Rev. John H. Welch, Metropolitan’s first incumbent pastor to pass.  

1912

Abdul-Baha, Persian born world Bahai leader, delivered an address on unity and social justice. He was on a two year (1911-13) tour of Europe and the Americas promoting universal peace.  

1913

Madame C.J. Walker convened a meeting of her current and future beauty product sales agents.  

1913

NAACP held a mass meeting entitled “To Protest Against Segregation – the New Slavery.” Earlier in the year, President Woodrow Wilson began to introduce segregation into the long time integrated federal government workforce.  

1915

“The Atonement,” a sacred cantata, by Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was performed on Easter Sunday evening. An acclaimed classical composer and symphony orchestra conductor, Coleridge-Taylor had visited Washington, DC when he toured the United States in 1904 and 1906. In 1912, he tragically died at the age of 32 in London.  

1916

Memorial service was held for educator Booker T. Washington who died in late 1915. An integrated audience of over 3,000 attended the service.  

1918

Madame C.J. Walker attended a National Race Congress meeting. The Congress promoted the liberation of African colonies after World War I.  

1925

Dr. W.E.B. DuBois addressed the congregation in an NAACP membership drive.  

1925

Contralto Marian Anderson gave a concert.  

1925

Tenor Roland Hayes was presented in a recital.  

1928

Rededication services were held. John Lankford, one of the first registered Black architects in the United States, supervised the three year long restoration and renovation. The Rt. Rev. John Albert Johnson, 34th A.M.E. bishop, preached the rededication sermon. The bishop was the pastor at Metropolitan A.M.E. from 1896-1901.  

1930

A college baccalaureate service was hosted where Frelinghuysen University installed Dr. Anna Cooper as president. Dr. Cooper, a former teacher at Washington's Dunbar Senior High School, was the first African American woman awarded a doctorate in French from the Sorbonne.  

1933

The "Frederick Douglass" pew was dedicated; ceremony, organized by Julia West Hamilton, was a part of Metropolitan's 96th anniversary celebration.  

1939

Funeral service held for John R. Hawkins, A.M.E. Financial Secretary (treasurer) and first lay man to become treasurer. Hawkins was elected in 1912 and managed the connectional church’s financial affairs for 27 years.  

1942

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt told a standing room only audience that racial and religious unity was needed to win World War II.  

1947

A Washington Community Chorus concert was hosted. Warner Lawson, Dean of Howard University School of Music, conducted the chorus in Dett's "The Ordering of Moses."  

1955

Diva Leontyne Price was in concert. This was her debut performance in Washington, DC.  

1964

Memorial concert held to honor the late President John F. Kennedy and African American educator Lemuel Penn of Washington, DC. Penn was killed in a racial attack while on US Army Reserve training assignment in Georgia.  

1972

Funeral service held for The Rt. Rev. George Dewey Robinson, 85th A.M.E. bishop and former pastor of Metropolitan (1951-1968).  

1972

Funeral service held for Dr. Samuel Zasa Westerfield, US Ambassador to Liberia. He was the son of Metropolitan’s long time member Mrs. Rachel Valentine. The Rt. Rev. Frank Madison Reid, Jr., newly appointed bishop of the A.M.E. churches in Liberia, delivered the eulogy. Bishop Reid was pastor of Metropolitan (1968-1972).  

1973

Church honored with National Historic Site designation and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for DC.  

1978

Stamp Issuance Commemorative Ceremony was hosted for new stamp to honor Harriet Tubman the "Moses of her People." Stamp was first in a series from US Postal Service honoring African Americans. Nine hundred DC public school students including Amy Carter, daughter of President Jimmy Carter, attended the ceremony.  

1979

Memorial service was held for A. Philip Randolph, labor leader and civil rights activist. President Carter spoke and opera star Leontyne Price was a soloist for this tribute. Mr. Randolph's father, The Rev. James William Randolph, was an A.M.E. church minister.  

1979

Mrs. Effi Barry, wife of Washington, DC mayor Marion Barry, was Women’s Day speaker.

1981

Vice President George H.W. Bush and Mrs.Barbara Bush worshipped at the 11:00 a.m.service where Rev. Thaddeus Garrett, a vice presidential assistant, was the preacher.

1993


First Presidential Inaugural worship service at an African American church was hosted for honorees President-elect William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton and Vice President-elect Albert “Al” Gore, Jr.; the Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Dean of African American preachers, delivered the sermon, and the Rev. Dr. William P. DeVeaux (now bishop) was host pastor.  

1994

Frederick Douglass "speaks again" to a nationwide television audience on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Bill Moyers' Journal. This taped program featured actor Fred Morsell portraying Frederick Douglass delivering the statesman's last great speech "The Lesson of the Hour" which originally had been given by Mr. Douglass from Metropolitan’s pulpit on January 9, 1894, 100 years earlier.  

1994

Church elevator, planned and completed under pastorate of the Rev. Dr. William P. DeVeaux, became fully operational and was dedicated by Bishop Frederick C. James.  

1995

Site of Myrlie Evers-Williams installation ceremony as Board Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). (Photo from Ebony Magazine)  

1996

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a meeting that addressed improving low income housing in the District of Columbia.  

1997

Second US Presidential Inaugural worship service was hosted for President William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton and Vice President Albert “Al” Gore, Jr. Service participants included The Rt. Rev. Vinton R. Anderson, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, and Rev. Anthony Compolo; The Rev. Dr. Louis-Charles Harvey (now Presiding Elder) was host pastor.  

1997

Funeral service held for The Rt. Rev. Robert Lee Pruitt, 103rd A.M.E. bishop and former pastor of Metropolitan (1972-1984).  

1998

Author Toni Morrison held a reading of her newest novel "Paradise," her first book that was published since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  

2002

Vernon Jordan, Jr., Esq., held a lecture and book signing for his autobiography “Vernon Can Read.”  

2003

Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, first African American elected statewide in Maryland, spoke at a worship service.  

2005

Funeral service held for former A.M.E. Church Treasurer Joseph McKinney, who had been treasurer 1972 until 1996. He had also served as a Washington Conference and Connectional Lay Organization officer.  

2005

Funeral service held for A.M.E. Deaconess Rosa Parks, “Mother of the Modern Civil Rights” movement.  (photo: Dr. Dorothy Height speaks at the funeral)

2007

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held worship service in conjunction with the opening of 110th Congress.  

2009

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held a multi-faith religious service to honor both the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, first African American US President, and the 80th birthday anniversary of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu was featured speaker.  

2010

Metropolitan was awarded national historic landmark designation by the DC Office of Planning/Historic Preservation Office.  

2010

National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Metropolitan on the Trust’s List of Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites in the US, which affords church visibility and prominence to entities that donate and make funds available to historic places.  

2010

Episcopacy Stained Glass Window was removed, restored, and reinstalled.

2011


Obama Family Visit President Barack Obama and Family visit Metropolitan AME during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend on January 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo). View more. . .
  
 

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The African Methodist Episcopal Church has a unique and glorious history. It was unique in that it is the first major religious denomination in the Western World that had its origin over sociological and theological beliefs and differences. It rejected the negative theological interpretations which rendered persons of African descent second class citizens. Theirs was a theological declaration that God is God all the time and for every body. The church was born in protest against slavery—against dehumanization of African people, brought to the American continent as labor. Read more…

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Rt. Rev. James Levert Davis
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