One of the earliest objects in the NMAAHC collection, this land deed documents the sale of property from a private owner to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME, also known as Mother Bethel) in Philadelphia, PA. The land was purchased for use as a burial ground for the church members. It was used from 1808 until 1889.
In 1787 Richard Allen, minister, educator, writer and abolitionist and the Rev. Absalom Jones founded the Free African Society, the first independent black denomination in America. In 1794, Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which continues to thrive as a global denomination.