1. Lewis V. Baldwin, “Invisible” Strands in African Methodism: A History of the African Union Methodist Protestant and Union American Methodist Episcopal Churches, 1805-1980, ATLA Monograph Series 19 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1983).
- Baldwin explores the strand of the African Methodist Episcopal within the larger context of Episcopal Methodism in America. Further, he analyzes the unique role it played in terms of the ethical, political, and economic problems facing black people. The author’s thesis is that because the AME was the first religious body that broke away and established itself as an all black church, it ushered in the beginning of the movement for black independence.
- A collection of essays that give a comprehensive overview of the African American religious experience and the development of their traditions. The authors explore the relationship of slavery to the emerging Black Church and how it shaped beliefs and practices. One author (Charles Long) sees the black church as a unique community that demands to be studied as separate and distinct from Christianity. They posit black religion as something that is less about faith and more about addressing social issues. The black church held a unique place in society because it challenged the white man’s claims to superiority in the Christian Church and the idea that God condoned slavery. Furthermore, the essays also emphasize the importance of education and moral reform in uplifting the black race.
- Floyd-Thomas explores the role the church and AME leaders played in the abolition movement. It provides a comprehensive overview of the diverse function the AME church played in the community and further, the ways in which its evolvement was influenced by race, class and gender.
- Melton provides an indepth look on the history of Methodism in the Antebellum period. It is useful in terms of giving background information on the establishment of the AME Church although it does not speak about the church's effects after the Civil War. The author posits the interrelationship between African American Methodism and the white tradition is much more complex and intimately connected than history suggests. He places Washington, DC as one of the epicenters of the AME movement because as a free black community, it had one of the largest memberships. He sees African American Methodism as a distinct branch and yet he still views it within the larger story of American Methodism.
- An autobiography of Bishop Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This is a good secondary source to accompany primary sources of Richard Allen’s own writing. The author eulogizes Allen in a way that depicts him as a paternal founder of the nation. He illustrates Allen’s struggle with reconciling being African and American. He states that the impetus behind Allen’s founding of the A.M.E. was back autonomy and the desire to preach a moral discipline that could fight white prejudice.
- Walker focuses on the difficulties the AME church encountered because of its preoccupation with social and political issues instead of theology. The AME endeavored to elevate the souls of the black race by providing them the means to become productive citizens. Walker argues that the church itself “provided the rationale for the creation of a black middle class” (3). Leaders such as Richard Allen believed that by adhering to Methodist discipline, blacks would also inherit the virtues of industrious, self-sufficient American citizens. To this end, the source illuminates the ways in which the AME served to integrate blacks into American culture. In sum, Walker argues that it was the AME church that shaped or formed the new African American character.