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Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal
Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in 1874 – Photo from

Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church traces its roots to 1824 when Rev. James King and Rev. Phillip Brodie started the first A.M.E. congregation in Cincinnati. The church has been known as Allen Temple since 1870 when the congregation moved into Bene Israel Synagogue at Sixth and Broadway. The first years there were financially difficult due to the money owed to the Bene Israel congregation and damages caused by a fire in 1874.   

Allen Temple began the 20th century with 800 members and continued to thrive. However, as the African American community began to migrate from the downtown area. In 1979, the Allen Temple congregation moved to Roselawn Baptist Church on Reading Road and, in 2000, Allen Temple built their current facility at Swifton Commons Mall in Bond Hill. 


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Allen Temple
In 2004 Allen Temple moved into its (current) iconic place of worship at the corner of Reading Rd. and Seymour Ave. – Photo from

Rev. David Leroy Nickens was the first African American licensed minister in Ohio in July 1824. He was called as the first pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cincinnati established in 1831.   

Other African American churches founded in the 19th century include Zion Baptist Church (1842) which was also the first brick churches owned by African Americans in Cincinnati, First Baptist Church of Walnut Hills (1856), Calvary Baptist Church (1867)Second United Missionary Baptist Church of Madisonville (1885) which later became Trinity Missionary Baptist ChurchFirst Baptist Church of West College Hill (1888) and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (1894).  


Related Article: Are Cincinnati Black Churches dead? Talk about it with Dr. Mike Scruggs. 



Churches | African American Resources | Cincinnati History Library and Archives ( 
David Leroy Nickens – Wikipedia 


The First 28, graciously sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, celebrates Black Cincinnatians who were the first in their fields. Each day during Black History Month, we will celebrate athletes, artists, business leaders, civil rights activists, educators, physicians and politicians.


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