The First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Oakland began in 1858, and is the first and oldest African American church
in the East Bay. The First African Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland, Calif.) Collection includes administrative records,
correspondence, church service bulletins, events programs, photographs, and collected newspaper clippings.
The First African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church of Oakland was the first African American church to be founded in the
East Bay, and the only one in Oakland for more than three decades. It was the first school for minorities in Oakland, since
only white children were allowed to attend public schools at this time. The A.M.E. Church also acted as the cultural center
of the African American community, hosting not only the first church and school, but social and political clubs, events, and
festivals. The First A.M.E. Church of Oakland began in 1858 by a small group of Oakland residents, and is the oldest African
American church in Oakland. The church founders purchased the Carpenter School House in 1863, which became the first church
building. At this time the church was called Shiloh A.M.E. Church, and it also acted as a school for minorities; the teacher
was one of the A.M.E. church founders, Elizabeth Flood. In 1884, Reverend James Grisby led the congregation to a larger church
building on 15th Street in Oakland, known as the Fifteenth Street Church. In 1949, Reverend H. Solomon Hill became pastor,
and in 1954, led the congregation to a new church building at 3701 Telegraph Avenue, where it was renamed the First African
Methodist Episcopal Church. Since then, the church has been renovated and improved numerous times, notably surviving the 1989
Loma Prieta earthquake.