Hidden History: The Black Church and education


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — When blacks weren’t allowed to worship or learn next to whites, it was churches founded by blacks that helped fill the gap and that legacy continues now.

The foundation of the black church has always been about education. Ministers were always making sure people not only heard the word on Sundays but could read and write about it too.

In 1787, upset that they were forced to sit in the back of a church in Philadelphia, a group of blacks left the United Methodist Church.

Richard Allen later forming the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia to teach Christian principals and basic education. Hundreds of years later, the Bethel A.M.E. Church is continuing that mission on a much larger scale.

“What they did do was set up schools, they started in church schools teaching blacks how to read and to write and from there it spiraled into creating universities and higher education institutions,” Rev. Ouemonde Brangman said.

In Harrisburg, at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Brangman said, “We want to make sure that everybody knows especially in our culture how to read and write but how to function adequately in our society and education is the main way to do that.”

This Saturday for the fifth year in a row the church will be hosting a college prep workshop.

“There were too many students and parents who didn’t know the steps to prepare for higher education,” Myra Blackwell, college prep lady said.

Teaching participants everything from how to prepare for college while in high school, what options are best, and how to get financial aid.

So many kids write off plans for after high school fearing they’re not smart enough or don’t have enough money, but there is an option out there even if it isn’t a four-year institution.

The college prep workshop is Saturday, Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Bethel A.M.E. Church on North Fifth Street not too far from the Broad Street Market.

It is open to everyone.

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