Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bethel Historical and Literary Association

The Bethel Historical and Literary Association, a literary society for African Americans, was founded in 1881 by Daniel A. Payne in Washington, D.C. The society met at Bethal Hall, a building owned by the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church. Members of the Bethel Historical and Literary Association met to discuss literature and issues of  interest and importance to African Americans. Meetings often included guest lecturers and speakers. Notable speakers included:

Frederick Douglas

Ida B. Wells Barnett

John Mercer Langston

Archibald H. Grimke

Richard Greener

Charles W. Chesnutt

John W. Cromwell

Mary Church Terrell

Note: Mary Church Terrell, an 1884 graduate of Oberlin College and a professor at Wilberforce College (now Wilberforce University), became the society's first female president in 1892.

See related posts: John Edward Bruce: Ex-Slave, Bibliophile, Historian, and Journalist and Arthur Alfonso-Schomburg, 1874-1938: Noted Bibliophile, Collector, Curator, and Scholar.

Sources: McHenry, Elizabeth. Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies. Durham: Duke U P, 2002. 149-165. Print. ; Albritton, Rosie L. "The Founding & Prevelance of African-American Social Libraries & Historical Societies, 1828-1918." Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship. Ed. John Mark Tucker. Champaign: U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998. 35. Print. ; Sinnette, Elinor D.V. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, Black Bibliophile & Collector: A Biography. New York: New York Public Library, 1989. 51. Print. ; "Emancipation Meetings." Crisis 5.5 (Mar. 1913): 243-244. Print. ; Des Jardines, Julie. Women and the Historical Enterprise of America: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Memory, 1880-1945. Chapel Hill, NC: U of North Carolina, 2003. 120-121. Print.

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