Early Religious Leaders and Civil Rights

How was Morris Brown involved in slave uprisings or other acts of protest?

Among the major religious leaders and their work for civil rights was Morris Brown (1770–1850). Black Methodists in Charleston, South Carolina, secretly formed their own church when the separate black quarterly conference was abolished. Morris Brown was one of two people sent north to be ordained by Richard Allen. Brown became pastor of the first church. The church was suppressed, and the building demolished in 1822, because of the involvement of some of its members in the Denmark Vesey slave uprising. Brown escaped by being smuggled north. He settled in Philadelphia and continued his work in the AME church. In 1826 he took charge of the Bristol Circuit in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He became the first to travel west and develop the church in western Pennsylvania and Ohio. In 1828 Brown was elected second bishop of the AME church and shared the burden of the older and weaker Allen. He was consecrated at Bethel Church on May 25, 1828, and became sole bishop after Allen died in 1831. Brown was born free, of mixed parentage, and lived in Charleston, South Carolina. Although he had no schooling, he was successful in strengthening the AME church.


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