Date of Award

Fall 12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Philo Hutcheson


The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, like many historically black denomination over the years, has been actively involved in social change and racial uplift. The concepts of racial uplift and self-determination dominated black social, political, and economic thought throughout the late-eighteenth into the nineteenth century. Having created many firsts for blacks in America, the A.M.E. Church is recognized as leading blacks in implementing the rhetoric of racial uplift and self-determination. Racial uplift was a broad concept that covered issues such as equal rights, moral, spiritual, and intellectual development, and institutional and organizational building. The rhetoric of racial uplift and self-determination help to create many black leaders and institutions such as churches, schools, and newspapers. This is a historical study in which I examined how education and educational institutions sponsored by a black church can be methods of social change and racial uplift. The A.M.E. Church was the first black institution (secular or religious) to create, support, and maintain institutions of higher education for blacks. I explored the question of why before slavery had even ended and it was legal for blacks to learn to read and write, the A.M.E. Church became interested in and created institution of learning. I answer this question by looking at the creation of these institutions as the A.M.E. Church’s way of promoting and implementing racial uplift and self-determination. This examination includes the analysis of language used in articles, sermons, and speeches given by various A.M.E. Church-affiliated persons who promoted education as a method to uplift the Negro race.