(Photo: Public Domain)
Born on Feb. 24, 1811, to Methodist parents, Daniel A. Payne would grow to become one of the most influential Black Christians in the 19th century as bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
After opening his first school at the age of 18 in South Carolina and being forced to shut it down due to laws that prohibited teaching literacy to Blacks, Payne traveled to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, but failed to complete ordination because of his failing eyesight.
In 1842, he joined the AME Church and became its sixth premier bishop in 1852, a position he held until his death in 1893. He not only served as minister but also teacher, and wrote the church's first history. He later founded Wilberforce University, the first Black-owned and operated institute for higher learning.
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