File #: 220468    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: ADOPTED
File created: 5/19/2022 In control: CITY COUNCIL
On agenda: Final action: 5/26/2022
Title: Also naming 15th Street, between Lombard and South Streets, "Wesley Way" to honor the historic Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church.
Sponsors: Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Gauthier, Councilmember Green, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Brooks, Councilmember Parker, Councilmember Squilla
Attachments: 1. Resolution No. 22046800, 2. Signature22046800
Also naming 15th Street, between Lombard and South Streets, "Wesley Way" to honor the historic Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church.

WHEREAS, Wesley A.M.E Zion Church, also known as "Big Wesley," was created on June 6, 1820. Researchers have identified it as one of the first five independent African American churches in Philadelphia; and

WHEREAS, The original meetings were held in a carpenter's shop on Lombard Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets. In time, the church grew to have the second largest membership of all black churches in the city. As a hub of the Black community, it hosted anti-slavery rallies, lectures, worship, and other community activities; and

WHEREAS, In 1885, the Church relocated to the 1500 block of Lombard Street. The members diligently worked toward the founding of the first hospital in the city for Black Philadelphians, formed literary societies, supported civil rights, pushed voter registration, promoted equal employment opportunities, and more; and

WHEREAS, A new church was designed by architect George Savage and built in 1926 in the Gothic Revival style, with a corner bell tower, spire, and pointed arch windows with tracery; and

WHEREAS, The Church has been a historical leader in the development of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church denomination and influential in civil rights and social reforms in the 1950s and 1960s. The Church's contributions to these larger movements is documented in archival collections at Temple University, the Philadelphia Historical Society, and the American Philosophical Society; and

WHEREAS, Among the Church's notable leaders was the Right Reverend Alfred G. Dunston, who served the church from 1952 until 1963, and later became an influential bishop in the A.M.E. Zion Church. Reverend Dunston not only served his congregation, but also his city and his country. A World War II veteran, he was a leader in the struggle for liberation, civil rights, and equity throughout his life. Over the years,...

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