1528 Sumter Street1528 Sumter Street
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was founded in 1868 and built its first church at this site about 1871. In 1921, the congregation laid the cornerstone for this church, which was designed by John Anderson Lankford. Lankford, the first licensed African American architect in Washington, DC, was appointed supervising architect of the AME church in 1908. Lankford, known as the “Dean of Negro Architecture,” saw the church as the center of the black community, and as such his designs included social halls as well as sanctuaries. This church, completed in 1922 for $67,300, had seating for 2,000 congregants.