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Black History Month: Peter Williams Jr.

Every February we celebrate Black History Month, or National African American History Month. It serves as an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and as a time to recognize the central role of African Americans in United States history. One key figure, though lesser known, in U. S. history is Peter Williams Jr.—New York’s first African American priest.

Peter Williams Jr. was born around 1786 to Peter Williams Sr., a founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of New York City. Williams Jr. was active in the preaching and catechizing to African American citizens of New York, and he even petitioned the Parish of Trinity Church for assistance in acquiring land for a church and an Episcopal school. Follow this link for an earlier post on Peter Williams Jr.—including an image of a letter from Williams to Trinity.