First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland, Calif.) Collection

The congregation of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church pose on the steps and sidewalk in front of the church
Congregation posed in front of 15th Street church with a sign welcoming the 89th Annual Session California Conference, 1953, First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland, Calif.) collection, MS 173, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

The First A.M.E. Church of Oakland began in 1858 by a small group of Oakland residents, and is the oldest African American church in Oakland. The church founders purchased the Carpenter School House in 1863, which became the first church building. At this time the church was called Shiloh A.M.E. Church, and it also acted as a school for minorities; the teacher was one of the A.M.E. church founders, Elizabeth Flood. In 1884, Reverend James Grisby led the congregation to a larger church building on 15th Street in Oakland, known as the Fifteenth Street Church. In 1949, Reverend H. Solomon Hill became pastor, and in 1954, led the congregation to a new church building at 3701 Telegraph Avenue, where it was renamed the First African Methodist Episcopal Church. Since then, the church has been renovated and improved numerous times, notably surviving the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Senior pastors of the First A.M.E. Church of Oakland:

  • Reverend John Lane 1863-1874
  • Reverend J.B. Sanderson 1874-1884
  • Reverend James Grisby 1884-1896
  • Reverend J. Alen Viney 1896-1900
  • Reverend Oscar E. Jones 1900-1910
  • Reverend F. Jesse Peck 1910-1915
  • Reverend J.M. Brown 1915-1922
  • Reverend Nelson Pryor 1922-1927
  • Reverend T. Dean Scott 1927-1932
  • Reverend Daniel G. Hill 1932-1943
  • Reverend Pearl Bryant 1943-1945
  • Reverend Justus E. Roberts 1945-1949
  • Reverend Dr. H. Solomon Hill 1949-1960
  • Reverend J. Russell Brown 1960-1971
  • Reverend Edward S. Foust 1971-1977
  • Reverend George R. Reid 1977-1981
  • Reverend L. Fisher Hines 1981-1986
  • Reverend Dr. Frederick Ormonde Murph 1986-1996
  • Reverend Dr. Harold R. Mayberry 1996-2020
  • Reverend Dr. Rodney D. Smith, 2020-

The First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland, Calif.) Collection includes administrative records, correspondence, church service bulletins, events programs, photographs, and collected newspaper clippings.

Dates: 1922-2015
Bulk Dates: bulk 1950s-1970s
Collection number: MS 173
Creator: First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland, Calif.)
Creator: East Bay Negro Historical Society
Collection Size: 2 linear feet (3 boxes + 1 oversized box)

Guide to the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland, Calif.) Collection

Available at the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO)

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