Jones, Absalom

Absalom Jones (1746-1818)

Absalom Jones was the first black Episcopal Priest and founder of The African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas, presently located at 6361 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born in Delaware as a slave.  At age 16, he came to Philadelphia, where he learned to read and write.  Jones worshipped at St. George's Methodist Church. There, he and Richard Allen were instructed to move to the "colored section" of the church while their heads were bowed in prayer. In 1787, Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and other free black Philadelphians founded the Free African Society. When they left St. George's Methodist Church, both Absalom Jones and Richard Allen founded black churches.  Jones organized and became rector of St. Thomas's African Church in 1794. He was ordained a priest in 1802.  During the yellow fever epidemic of 1793, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen helped set up relief measures for the citizens of Philadelphia.

By Aslaku Berhanu


Nash, Gary B. “’To Arise out of the Dust’: Absalom Jones and the African Church of Philadelphia, 1785-95.” Race, Class, and Politics: Essays on American Colonial and Revolutionary Society. Ed. Nash. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986. 323-355.

Allen, Richard. “Autobiography of Richard Allen.” Wright, Richard R. The Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Nashville: The A.M.E. Sunday School Union, 1963. 46-76.