Allen Chapel AME
Murfreesboro's oldest African American Church
Allen Chapel AME was founded shortly after the abolishment of slavery in 1866 and it is one of Murfreesboro oldest African American congregations. It is named after the denomination's founder, Richard Allen. Over the course of the late 19th century, the congregation was led by John Reeves, John Clairborne, and Peter Lytle (who currently has a street named after him, “Lytle Street”). Allen Chapel AME became a place for sanctuary within the African American Community. The location of the original building was between “The Bottoms”, “3rd Ward”, and “6th Ward”, which were all prominent African American communities within Murfreesboro. The original building was located on Maney Ave., but due to the congregation growing rapidly during the Reconstruction era, the church was moved in 1889 to its current location of 224 South Maney Ave.
In 1988, the church was gifted the Benevolent Cemetery by Mrs. Mary Goodman, the last surviving member of the Benevolent Lodge of Murfreesboro. The cemetery was once located on South Church St. but was later moved, due to the embankment being raised by the city to accommodate railroad tracks. Within the cemetery are the remains of at least sixteen African Americans who were born prior to the Civil War. Allen Chapel AME is a landmark to the accomplishments of formerly-enslaved residents of Murfreesboro.