Richard Allen was one of two African Americans present at the Baltimore Christmas Conference of the American Methodists in 1784, and he became the first African American Methodist deacon. He had been appointed in 1786 to Old St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia and within one year had increased the number of African American members from five to forty-two. Alarmed at that growth, white members wanted them ≈removed from their original seats and placed around the wall.ç On that Sunday morning, Allen and others were physically removed from their places as they knelt during the prayer, forbidden to return to those seats.
Allen wrote, "We all went out of the church in a body, and they were no more plagued with us in the Church." Allen went on to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church and severed all ties with the white Methodists. The A.M.E. Church continues today.
Source: Eileen Southern, The Music of Black Americans: A History, p.83