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James A. Handy, 1826-1911
Scraps of African Methodist Episcopal History
Philadelphia: A. M. E. Book Concern, 1902.


Bishop James A. Handy of Baltimore, Maryland devoted most of his life to the development and expansion of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. He wrote Scraps of African Methodist Episcopal History in 1902 in an attempt to "collect, condense, and render easy of access important information which has been scattered through years" (1). The book's first five chapters describe the organization and formation of the church, the rise of Methodism, and the establishment of the A.M.E. Church in the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York areas. Handy then provides a history of the Church's annual conferences, which played an essential formational and organizational role for the A.M.E. Church. These vignettes are loaded with names and administrative details, and provide insight into the interesting historical preoccupations that dominated some of the conferences. In the book's last chapters, Handy switches his focus to people responsible for the rise of the church. Here he includes several short biographies of prominent A.M.E. leaders. He also includes information on subjects ranging from church policy for pastors, member responsibilities, and a report of a conference in Haiti.

Brent Kinser

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