The very first known church congregation of African Americans was founded in 1758 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Yet this fact has received very little attention from scholars. Jerusalem! An Introduction to African American Church History in the Commonwealth of Virginia fills that void while, at the same time, calling attention to historic figures such as Lott Carey, Nat Turner, and James Solomon Russell, all of whom were born in the Commonwealth and all of whom became preachers. At the center of Jerusalem! is Jerusalem Church, a small African American congregation of approximately 100 members. Jerusalem is distinctive for being the first African American church in Mecklenburg County to acquire membership in the United Church of Christ, a predominately White denomination known for its inclusiveness, its advocacy for justice, and its activism. The UCC at one time was the denomination of poet Phillis Wheatley, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and President Barack Obama. Jerusalem! concludes with an academic essay on human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery.
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