St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church

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DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

The completion of St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1888 symbolized the beginning of a period of ascendancy for Norfolk’s African American congregations. The church was the first of a series of architecturally assertive black churches to adorn the city. Its architect, Charles M. Cassell, was one of the most respected Norfolk architects of the period. Cassell’s design is a red brick interpretation of the Romanesque Revival style popularized by architect H.H. Richardson. Lending awe to the interior are an enormous stained-glass window and a complex hammer-beam ceiling. The congregation began in 1840 as a mission for slaves. It obtained its independence in 1863 during the Union occupation and joined the A.M.E. denomination in 1864. Five bishops were consecrated at the St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908 during the Twenty-Third Quadrennial Session of the A.M.E. Church.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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