Thousands Visit Philadelphia for AME Church Conference
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About 30,000 people are estimated to be visiting Philadelphia for an African Methodist Episcopal Church conference, which began July 6 and runs until July 13, The Associated Press reported.
The church is celebrating its 200th anniversary in the city where it was founded by a group of freed slaves who were fed up with the racism in their former churches, according to AP.
The AME church was one of the stops along the Underground Railroad that Harriet Tubman used to free hundreds of enslaved blacks, AP reported. The church later served as a meeting place during the civil rights movement.
There are now more than 2.5 million AME members and 6,200 congregations in 39 countries, AP said.
After this week’s deadly shootings of two black men and the subsequent fatal shootings of five police officers, racial tensions are soaring across the U.S.
Philadelphia is no exception.
Protests in the “City of Brotherly Love” continued for the fifth day in a row on Sunday, Philadelphia’s NBC 10 reported. Protesters screamed at police on Saturday night, threatening to “shut down” the districts.
The AME convention offered churchgoers an opportunity to discuss the tragic events of the past week.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke about gun violence and criminal justice reform at the convention, according to Philadelphia’s ABC 6 Action News.
"There's a recognition that this is a denomination that represents African-American excellence, independence and autonomy," AME historian Christina Dickerson Cousin told AP. "The AME Church is pretty much as old as the country itself. What other African-American institution can say that?”
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