|1872-1954||Theodore A. Harding + Caroline Hutchinson||NY, Broome Co, Binghamton||VA, Arlington Co|
Downtown, Asbury Methodist
Stories of slavery and freedom, struggle, and achievement are woven throughout the history of this African American congregation. It was founded in 1836 by African American parishioners of Foundry Methodist Episcopal Church seeking a church of their own. By the time of the Civil War, Asbury was the preeminent black church in the city. Its membership of 600 made it the largest of the 11 African American congregations. Today Asbury counts among its members descendants of the enslaved Washingtonians who famously attempted a dramatic escape to freedom in 1848 aboard the sailing ship Pearl.
Churches were centers of community life for African Americans, who had made up more than one-quarter of the city's population since Congress arrived in 1800. By 1830 a majority had gained their freedom. Despite "Black Codes" that severely restricted their movements and activities, African Americans practiced a variety of trades, ran their own businesses, and set up schools. By 1860 free blacks owned property in every quadrant of the city.
Asbury United Methodist Church is the oldest black congregation in the District of Columbia that remains on its original site. The current sanctuary dates from 1915. Since its founding, Asbury's members have played leading roles in the life of the city, and its spiritual, educational, and humanitarian activities have contributed to efforts of black congregations throughout Washington, D.C., to attain equality for the city's many African American communities.
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|Religion > Ministers||2||Asbury Methodist Church|
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