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African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

William E. Montgomery Overview Entry

The Texas Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, an offshoot of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was organized in 1883. Zion missionaries had entered the South with the Union army and had been slower than the parent AME Church to move into Texas. The first conference meeting, in Stoneham, produced plans to organize the Zion congregations in the state and promote discipline among them. Bishop Thomas H. Lomax presided. The Zion AME Church numbered 6,927 after organization in 1890. However, in 1936 the census showed only 614 members in the state. In 1986–87 there were seven active churches, 1,752 confirmed members, and 2,095 total adherents in Texas. Evangelical theology, spiritual and material support for its members, and worship services that are also social occasions characterize the church. Through journals such as the Star of Zion, members have been kept informed.

Alwyn Barr, Black Texans: A History of Negroes in Texas, 1528–1971 (Austin: Jenkins, 1973). Olin W. Nail, ed., History of Texas Methodism, 1900–1960 (Austin, 1961). Lawrence D. Rice, The Negro in Texas, 1874–1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971). Carter G. Woodson, The History of the Negro Church (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1921; 2d ed. 1945).


  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Religion
  • African Methodist Episcopal
  • Methodist

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

William E. Montgomery, “African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 19, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: