The Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is New York's oldest African-American church, founded in 1796. Its present building on West 137th Street was completed in 1925. These papers of a longtime member include an 18-page manuscript record of donors to their 1925 Mortgage Fund Rally, listing many hundreds of individual donors and their gifts. A total of $23,571 was raised, almost all of it in small gifts under $50. Also included are 12 programs and handbills for events at the church, 1925-1972: the 1925 dedication program, 3 pageants titled "Crowned Kings and Jeweled Queens," "America's Unfinished Battles," and "The Royal Celebrities," 1929-31; the dedication of a light in honor of the pastor's late wife Martha Hill Brown, 1929; the 1946 mortgage burning ceremony; and musical programs, 1950-72, most notably a concert by Duke Ellington in 1972. A file of 30 photographs and other memorabilia relates to a missionary trip to Africa in 1971. Also included are 11 copies of general A.M.E. publications such as the Missionary Seer from 1949-70, clippings, brochures, and miscellaneous other papers.
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