Stained Glass Left
Address: 501 Red Cross Street
Contact: (910) 762-9829
St. Stephen A.M.E. was initially built in 1866. This is believed to be the oldest black Episcopal Church in North Carolina built by and for a black congregation. The congregation grew so rapidly that by 1880 they had outgrown the original wooden structure and needed a much larger space. The building, now seen on the corner of 5th and Red Cross Streets, was completed in 1888. The church was designed by Emerson and Fehmer of Boston. It is a Gothic Revival structure of stucco brick with a sharply pitched roof and lancet windows.Significantly, St. Stephen A.M.E. was designed and built literally, brick by brick, by ex-slaves who were members of the church. In 1875, a military company was formed within the church. Sixty boys between the ages of 16 and 20 participated in exercise drills to strengthen their bodies. In 1892, the first group of The Association of Colored Authors held a meeting. Many notable African American authors attended. In 1898, Booker T. Washington, President of Alabama State Normal School, spoke about the importance of an industrial education for blacks.