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AALC Records and Digitization

July 7, 2021
Documents in Gayraud Wilmore's collection from his work with Black Presbyterians United. [Pearl ID: 160325 and 160390]

The Presbyterian Historical Society needs your help to document African American lives, work, and witness in our increasingly multicultural Church.

Through the African American Leaders and Congregations initiative, PHS is digitizing African American congregations’ earliest records. African American congregations can have their session minutes and registers imaged at PHS, up to 1200 pages of text, at no cost. We can then either secure the original records in the archives, or return them to the church. 

Digitized pages from Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church board minutes, 1848 through 1849. PHS is just one block from Mother Bethel and pleased to be the repository of its records, which first arrived in 2013 during a renovation of their church building.

We are also bringing into the archives the personal records of prominent church workers. In 2020, we processed the personal records of Gayraud Wilmore, putting people in touch with the chief Presbyterian theoretician of Black Liberation theology. In 2021, we’ve begun a partnership with the Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary to unite the personal papers of Katie Geneva Cannon in one digital archive.

Katie Cannon, 1970s; her drawing, 2000.

Contact David Staniunas at [email protected] to hear more about our efforts to digitize the records of historically Black PC(USA) congregations at no cost and to help us document Black lives, work, and witness in the church.