Civil War  |  Historic Site

Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church

North Carolina

320 Culpepper Street
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
United States

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Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church
Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church Visit Elizabeth City, NC

Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church is the “oldest known black congregation in the Albemarle area.”

Begun as the “Colored Mission” in the basement of the white Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1850, this separate African American congregation grew to 273 enslaved and free members by 1855. In 1856, trustees of the white church purchased a lot on African (now Culpepper) Street adjacent to the site of the present church and constructed a frame house of worship for the “Colored Mission” while also building a separate, more substantial structure for its white members on Church Street. By 1861, the “Colored Mission” congregation had the largest membership of all the city’s churches.

Soon after the war, under the guidance of missionary pastor James W. Hood, the congregation affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church—a Black-led denomination known as the “freedom church” because of its efforts to help enslaved people escape bondage and its celebrated members and leading abolitionists Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass. Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church became and remains today a resilient center of religious, social, and political activities for the Black community in Elizabeth City.

The current church building, constructed in 1905 on the site of the former parsonage, is a striking landmark combining Victorian Gothic and Romanesque features including an imposing bell tower and beautiful stained-glass windows depicting biblical scenes.

Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church: What's Nearby

Elizabeth City, NC