Blacks were part of American Methodism from its inception in the late 1700s, and this thorough workmanlike account traces the story of black Methodism from early slave days to the present. The Wesleyan emphasis on vivid personal experience rooted in simple direct faith rather than on formal theology and ritual seemed especially appealing to the uneducated and alienated slave community. The Methodists were early committed to the abolition of slavery but gradually became embroiled in the issue themselves. The result was the segregation of Methodist churches and the breakaway of many blacks to start their own congregations which ultimately were formed into the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816) and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (1822). Following the post-Civil War emancipation, these northern churches flourished in the South, and another (the Christian Methodist Episcopal) was founded. These denominations, along with the main Methodist church, have been actively involved in education and social programs for blacks ever since, although internal power-grubbing has disserved their religious cause and precluded their union. An interesting but fairly parochial history, laced with references to original documents.