St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church

The moment when mothers and fathers won their fight

St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church, located in the Historic North Topeka, Kansas was established in the year 1880.  The origin of St. Mark's is rooted in two remarkable events recorded in the annals of African American history:  1) the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest Black organized, incorporated, religious denomination; and 2) the Exodus of the former slaves from the South to Kansas between 1877 and 1880, often called the "Great Exodus."   Many Black emigrants were particularly attracted to Kansas due to its history as a free state and the land of abolitionist.  The most remarkable migration of Black Americans into Kansas occurred in a two-month period between March and May of 1879.  These "Exodusters" came primarily from Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and later, Texas, several hundred settled in North Topeka.  Bringing their Christian faith with them, many originally gathered in house to house fashion for prayer and Bible Study.  In 1880 St. Mark's was established as an AME Church and entered into the Kansas Conference.  The Church has served as a beacon in the North Topeka Community for 137 years, overcoming perils of the past which included prejudices and racial hostilities, and survived the 1903 and 1951 Kaw River floods.  St. Mark's was the first pastoral charge for the Rev. Vinton Randolph Anderson the 92nd Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was elected in 1991 to serve as the President of the World Council of Churches. 

St. Mark's Outside       St. Mark's Stain glass

The Rev. Oliver Brown was assigned to St. Mark's, also as his first pastoral assignment in 1953, and was serving  still at the time of the Brown v Board decision. Mrs. Linda Brown-Thompson served the St. Mark's Church as pianist for more than 30 years and is still a member of the congregation. Mrs. Carolyn Campbell was elected as the first African American Education Commission for the State of Kansas and is a long standing member of standing member of St. Mark's, along with others like the Honorable Joe Johnson, the first African American judge on the Shawnee County Bench, Mr. Terry Crowder who served as Vice-char of the Kansas Human rights Commission, and Sgt. At Arms Foster Chisholm, who is the first African American appointed to the position. The Church historically and currently houses champions who give and who are giving of themselves as political and civic leaders, educators, doctors, lawyers, missionaries, and more all in the spirit of the AME Church mission of liberation and reconciliation.


Oliver Brown         Linda Brown Thompson
           Rev. Oliver Brown                   Mrs. Linda Brown-Thompson


source: [St. Mark's AME Church]