The Israel AME Church

New York State Underground Railroad Station

The Israel AME Church served the religious community, as well as a station on the Underground railroad during the Civil War.

Richard Allen’s story: Richard Allen, founder and first Bishop of the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church founded in 1828, began practicing the Methodist religion because of John Wesley’s religious doctrines that preached equality, while Allen was still a slave. Richard Allen was born into slavery on February 14, 1760. Richard taught himself to read and write, and joined the Methodists at age 17. Allen was offered, by his owner, to buy his freedom in 1780, after which he changed his name from "Negro Richard" to "Richard Allen". In 1794, he founded the first national black church in the United States, an AME church located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Allen became an activist and an abolitionist focusing on organizing a place where free blacks could worship without the obstruction of racism and where slaves could regain their humanity.[1]
The Israel AME Church story: Israel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church located on Hamilton Street in Albany is known historically for being a station on the underground railroad. Harriet Tubman is said to have slept inside the Church against one of its walls during her many trips liberating enslaved people from Southern states. The Israel AME Church has long since been a place where community meetings, and group gatherings have been held. The Church now reaches out to the homeless, poor, and the needy through housing, feeding, and educational progeams.[2] The site is the oldest African American Church located in Albany. As the civil war started, the Israel AME church was also a place where African American recruits for the union army would drill before going off to help fight in the American Civil War. The actual Church has been rebuilt, and/or renovated several times over throughout its own history.[3]

1 citation text, Wikipedia. Accessed March 09, 2016.
2 citation text "Israel AME Church - History." Israel AME Church - History. Accessed March 09, 2016. history.html.
3 citation text "The AME Church - Underground Railroad History Project." Underground Railroad History Project. Accessed March 09, 2016.

Street Address:

Israel AME Church, 381 Hamilton Street, Albany, NY 12210 [map]

Official Website:

Cite this Page:

Dezire Jones, “The Israel AME Church,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed September 19, 2019,
Tour navigation:  Previous | Tour Info | Next

Share this Story