Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

The first black churches in Wyoming were in Cheyenne, which had a relatively large African-American population from its earliest days.

The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) is the oldest black denomination in the United States, dating back more than 200 years. Cheyenne’s Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal, founded either in 1868 or 1878—reports conflict—was the first black church in Wyoming.

In southwestern Wyoming in the early 20th century, towns sprang up wherever the coal reserves looked promising.

Several times, coal quality proved to be low and the town disappeared after just a few years.

As a result, it often took several years for townspeople to feel established enough to build permanent church buildings.

Several of the towns’ African-American populations were instead served by traveling pastors from Rock Springs or farther afield, despite having strong congregations in towns such as Superior, Wyoming and Dines, Wyoming.

One exception in the area was Hanna, Wyoming, where at least one black church was built in 1924.

In towns like Rock Springs with growing black populations, it became increasingly important to them to have social, professional and religious organizations that demonstrated to black and white communities alike their rightful and respected place in society.