Big Bethel AME Church, Atlanta

Big Bethel AME Church, Atlanta

The Big Bethel AME Church is the oldest African-American congregation in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood of Atlanta, and is the mother church of AME in North Georgia. It is located at 220 Auburn Avenue NE in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. It is the "first" church on the North Atlanta District, in the Atlanta-North Georgia Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Big Bethel was founded in 1847 as Union Church in the town of Marthasville. Marthasville became Terminus, and finally Atlanta, and Union Church became Bethel Church, then Bethel Tabernacle. At the close of the Civil War, the AME Church spread rapidly throughout the former Confederacy, and the Bethel Tabernacle allied herself with the denomination, becoming Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her first pastor was Rev. Joseph Woods.

In 1879, the first public school for blacks in Atlanta, Gate City Colored School, was founded in the basement of the church, though it would later move to Houston Street. Morris Brown College held its first classes here in 1881 before moving to its first campus. Big Bethel was known as "Sweet Auburn's City Hall." In 1911, President William Howard Taft spoke here, as did Nelson Mandela in 1990.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Atlanta, Georgia within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Big Bethel AME Church on Map

Sight Name: Big Bethel AME Church
Sight Location: Atlanta, USA
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Atlanta Downtown Walk   Famous Religious Buildings Tour in Altanta  

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