Independent Methodist organization dedicated to black self-improvement and Pan-Africanist ideals. In 1794, Richard Allen, the first AME bishop, established Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. About 2,000 black Methodists facing persistent discrimination met at Bethel to discuss legal independence from the Methodist church’s main body. They voted to organize under the name African Methodist Episcopal Church and the group successfully sued for independence before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. AME is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.
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