Delivered in Allen Temple A. M. E. Church. 11
galleries. There, high above the congregation, they had to
serve the Lord silently—for not an amen must come down from
among that sable band. These and other indignities our fathers
bore with Christian patience for a number of years. They
were denied the communion of the Lord's supper until all the
white members had partaken. This treatment continued until
forbearance ceased to be a virtue, and our fathers drew out from
among them; for the watch-fires of soul-freedom were burning
in their bosoms. These were kindled and fed by the sentiments
of the age in which they lived; for on every side could be heard
the watch-word of the nation—' All men are born free and equal,
and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,
among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
" The first meeting was held in the blacksmith-shop of
Richard Allen, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the corner of
Sixth and Lombard Streets. The mother church of the con¬
nection stands on the site of the old ' blacksmith-shop.' The
place of meeting was called ' Bethel,' for God was with them.
There, in the name of the living and true God, our fathers lifted
up the glorious banner of the A. M. E. Church, which has been
borne in triumph from the Atlantic to the golden shores of the
Pacific ocean ; and from our northern lakes to the shores of the
southern gulf, beneath its folds of purity and holiness to the
Lord, thousands have lived, fought, bled, died, and gone to
glory; and still there is a host keeping time to the music of the
gospel—having on the whole armor of God.
" The first general conference of this infant child of God was
held in the city of Philadelphia, in 1816. There we find in this
body the following princes in heart:—Rev. Richard Allen, Jacob
Tapsico, Clayton Durham, James Champion, and Thomas Web¬
ster, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Daniel Coker, Richard Williams,
Henry Harden, Stephen Hill, Edward Williamson, and Nicholas
Gailliard, of Baltimore, Md.; Peter Spencer, of Wilmington,
Del.; Jacob Marsh, Edward Jackson, and William Andrew, of
Attleborough, Pa.; Peter Cuff, of Salem, N. J."
These were men of piety, well noted for their love of truth.
They were the founders of the A. M. E. Church. The con¬
vention opened on the 9th of April, 1816. No man in the
convention, save one, was what we would call an educated man,
but they all loved God and humanity.