BlackPast.org Facebook BlackPast.org Twitter

Donate to BlackPast.org BlackPast Blog
  • African American History
  • African American History in the West
  • Global African History
  • Perspectives

NOTE: BlackPast.org will not disclose, use, give or sell any of the requested information to third parties.

2 + 13 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Shop Amazon and help BlackPast.org

Blackpast.org in the Classroom

Union Bethel AME Church, Great Falls, Montana (1890- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Great Falls, Montana, is one of the state’s oldest active churches.  

The African American community in Great Falls dates to the town’s beginnings.  As elsewhere in the western United States, the community came together early on for mutual benefit around the construction of a church.  The AME congregation organized in 1890 and built its church the following year.  The original structure was taken down in 1917, and replaced with the current building.  

The Union Bethel AME grew to be the center of social and public life for much of Great Fall’s black community.  In 1892 several members of the AME congregation were involved with a black Democrats’ club, and in 1894 an AME trustee was elected township constable.  During the Progressive Era, Union Bethel women formed clubs to benefit the church and community, including the long-lived Dunbar Art and Study Club, which for decades performed charitable and literary deeds and promoted civil rights at local, state, and national levels.  AME men’s clubs included a Masonic lodge and an Odd Fellows Lodge.  The church also occasionally partnered with non-black churches in public events such as a send-off turkey feast for black soldiers in World War I, and a joint Thanksgiving service with a white Baptist church.  

The assignment of black airmen to nearby Malmstrom Air Force Base in the 1950s brought new African American residents to Great Falls, some of whom stayed after retirement.  Today, the Union Bethel congregation is the largest of three AME congregations in Montana, and is flourishing with a multi-cultural mix of Air Force personnel, long-term members, and their families.  The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources:
Barbara Behan,Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, National Register of Historic Places Registration Proposal, May 15, 2003.

Contributor:

Independent Historian

Entry Categories:

Copyright 2007-2017 - BlackPast.org v3.0 NDCHost - California | blackpast@blackpast.org | Your donations help us to grow. | We welcome your suggestions. | Mission Statement

BlackPast.org is an independent non-profit corporation 501(c)(3). It has no affiliation with the University of Washington. BlackPast.org is supported in part by a grant from Humanities Washington, a state-wide non-profit organization supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the state of Washington, and contributions from individuals and foundations.