Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980. Two hundred years ago, in 1813, Peter Spencer founded the African Union Church, the first independent black denomination in the United States. The next year, he started the August Quarterly, the nation’s oldest African American festival.
Through objects, documents, and images, the exhibition explores the diverse faith experiences and institutions that developed from these beginnings. Historically, black faith communities have addressed many needs beyond the spiritual. They have been a key factor in education, community development, and the continuing struggle for equality for people who lacked other institutions. In the absence of other avenues for leadership, the black minister assumed many roles in addition to the spiritual. Faith communities also offered opportunities for leadership and participation to laypeople whose talents were not recognized in the mainstream community. The exhibition will introduce Michael Sterling of Wilmington—a modest man in the eyes of the world who lived a rich and useful life through service to Bethel AME Church.
The exhibition will be open through the Summer of 2014.
Sponsored by the Delaware Humanities Forum. The Delaware Humanities Forum is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.