Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia


This print is an exterior view of the rough-cast second edifice of the Bethel African American Methodist Episcopal Church at 125 South 6th Street in Philadelphia. Pedestrians and parishioners, predominantly women, stroll the sidewalk and enter the building, which is adorned with a simple stone tablet inscribed "Bethel Church." Known as "Mother Bethel," the church was founded in the 1790s by free Blacks who broke away from Saint George’s Methodist Episcopal Church, where they faced racial discrimination. The church’s first building was dedicated in July 1794. The larger building shown here was built in 1805, and stood until 1841 when a third building was erected on the same site. The first conference of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) Church took place at Bethel Church in 1816, under the leadership of Bishop Richard Allen. The print was made by the firm of Kennedy and Lucas, operated by David Kennedy and William B. Lucas, which produced the first commercial lithographs in Philadelphia, including a series of church subjects drawn by William L. Breton, a watercolorist and early lithographer of Philadelphia scenes, who was active in the city between about 1825 and 1855.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Kennedy & Lucas's Lithography, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Philada.

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph ; 23 x 30 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 39


  1. William L. Breton, Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia,
  2. Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers,

Last updated: January 8, 2018