Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

637 North St • (757) 393-2259

Founded in 1792, three years before the American Revolution, it is the oldest African-American church in the area. Originally the church was on Glasgow Street, but it was “burned by wicked hands” in 1856. This building was built entirely by hand by slaves and free blacks in one year and was dedicated in 1857. Emanuel also prides itself in being one of the stations on the Underground Railroad, and in it can be seen the hiding places for slaves as well as the location of the water duct used by slaves to crawl to the Elizabeth River so they could stow away on merchant ships. No slave was ever caught in the church. The church has its original stained glass windows and hand-carved benches and pews. Because mail would not be delivered to African-Americans at that time, two gentlemen had post office boxes downtown specifically to receive mail for the members of the congregations so the church also served as a substitute post office for the people living in Lincolnville. If you would like a tour, please call the church secretary at 757 393-2259 between 9 and 3 Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment.

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