Telling a Neglected Story: Leadership of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Difficult Times
Willis Stewart, Cynthia Enid
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable publication of the research
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church connection is a major, historic Black Christian denomination which has long been ignored as a subject of serious academic reflection, especially of an historic nature. This was partly due to the lack of denominational archives, and the sense that historical inventory and archival storage could be a financial drain to the AME Zion Church such it could not maintain its own archives and indeed, retaining official records was kept at a far from super or archival level. This thesis will briefly enunciate and elucidate the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. It takes three of its icons who are still revered and frequently referenced in present-day church dialogue and examines their lives, their leadership styles and legacy, their indelible imprint on the civil rights movement and the fabric of American society. The lives, leadership and legacy of three of the Bishops of the A.M.E. Zion Church will be examined in light of the sociological, cultural and historic impact they made on the church then and down through the ages. This will be a history written for the purposes of inspiration – a technique which remains central to the oral tradition of Black history. Hence, outside our oral history and six official history books, this thesis is a small contribution to the hope that the current and future leadership of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church will "keep 'agoing" for a better day, as they try to emulate Bishops Walls, Spottswood and Shaw.
MPhil in Theology