Pennsylvania Abolition Society Grant to Digitize Historically Black Church Records
The Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) is the recipient of a 2023 grant from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society Endowment Fund, following a recommendation by Ms. Cindy Little.
The $1,800 grant, awarded to the Society’s African American Leaders and Congregations Collecting Initiative (AALC), will help fund the ongoing digitization of African American Presbyterian records. Since 2020, sixteen African American congregations have participated in the initiative’s offer to digitize up to 1200 pages of text at no cost.
In 2018, PHS started the AALC as a commitment to document Black lives, work, and witness in an increasingly multicultural church. Through human and capital resources PHS has collected the personal records of longtime church workers—like Gayraud Wilmore and Katie Geneva Cannon—and the original records of Black congregations.
“The Pennsylvania Abolition Society’s continued support of AALC is a great vote of confidence in our efforts to bring into new light the lives, work, and witness of Black Presbyterians,” PHS Records Archivist David Staniunas said. “This grant will sponsor digitization for a new group of historically Black Philadelphia churches. We’re grateful and we’re excited for the work to come.” Staniunas coordinates the AALC initiative at PHS.
A 2020 grant to PHS from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society Endowment Fund supported the imaging of records of First African Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Philadelphia, Pa.).
To learn more about the AALC and to contribute records or financial support to this ongoing work, visit: www.history.pcusa.org/aalc