Bethel History

Inside Iowa City’s Bethel AME Church, April 2018. — photo by Jav Ducker

Inside Iowa City’s Bethel AME Church, April 2018. — photo by Jav Ducker

Bethel A.M.E. History 

On April 1, 1868, a group of free African Americans in the Iowa City area laid the cornerstone to build a house of worship.  The Iowa City area is known to have been a stop on the underground railroad, and Bethel is proud to be an important part of that history.  City directories from 1892 to 1902 refer to the church as Zion’s AME.  The church is called Bethel after 1906.  On September 27, 2000, Bethel AME of Iowa City received recognition at both the state and federal levels as a national historic site.

In “Bethel AME - A Short History”, acclaimed Producer and Director Steven Torriano Berry has combined interviews and visual historical records that highlight the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Bethel A.M.E. Church of Iowa City in April 1868. For a limited time, the 58-minute documentary can be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtubewatch?y=WrcS_tK0Ce4. This documentary is sure to appeal to historians, friends, and present and former members of Bethel AME, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. “Bethel AME - A Short History” is copyrighted by Steven T. Berry and may soon be available for distribution in DVD format for a goodwill donation.

Download an order form for the DVD here.