Black Church History

Bible-2Black Church History

The Black Church has historically been a source of hope and strength for the African American community. In 1990, the late professor, C. Eric. Lincoln co-authored, The Black Church in the African American Experience with Lawrence H. Mamiya. They described the, “seven major historic Black denominations: the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church; the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church; the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church; the National Baptist Convention, USA., Incorporated (NBC); the National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated (NBCA); the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC); and the Church of God in Christ (COGIC),” as comprising “the Black Church.”

Yet it is known that Blacks were also members of predominantly white denominations such as the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational, United Methodist and Roman Catholic churches. However, Lincoln and Mamiya chose to confine ‘the Black Church,’ to “those independent, historic, and totally Black controlled denominations, which were founded after the Free African Society of 1787 and which constituted the core of Black Christians.”

Since the publication of the Lincoln and Mamiya book, two new Black denominations have developed: The National Missionary Baptist Convention (NMBC) and the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship (FGBCF). The FGBCF does not refer to itself as a denomination.

We hope this section of will serve as a resource for information on the historically Black Christian denominations and will inspire you to learn the history of your particular denomination.

If you have information to add to this section or comments you would like to make email:

The following books are excellent reference works on the African American religious experience:

  1. Eric Lincoln and Lawrence H. Mamiya, The Black Church in the African American Experience, (Durham: Duke University Press), 1990

Wardell J. Payne, Directory of African American Religious Bodies: A Compendium by the Howard University School of Divinity (Washington, DC: Howard University Press), 1995.


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Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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