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Black Protestants in a Catholic Land: the AME Church in the Dominican Republic 1899-1916.

In 1916, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church--a historically black Church founded in 1816 in the United States--was one of several Protestant denominations growing rapidly in the Dominican Republic as thousands of laborers from the British Caribbean migrated to sugar plantations in southeastern regions of the country. (1) Unlike the Episcopal, Moravian, and Methodist denominations, the AME Church was unique because black ministers led AME congregations and the denomination's bishops were African-Americans in the United States, not white Europeans or Americans. (2) The AME Church was also the oldest Protestant denomination in eastern Hispaniola, having first been established in 1830 by black colonists who emigrated from the United States to Haiti between the years 1824 and 1825 at a time when the entire island was under Haitian rule (1822-44). (3) At the turn of the century, the AME Church provided an organizational structure in which descendants of African-American colonists along with more recent British Caribbean migrants (West Indians) maintained and developed ties to African-American institutions in the United States. (4) These groups coalesced around common cultural markers (the English language and Protestant religion) and a shared commitment to the principles of racial uplift and self-determination that were at the center of the history and contemporary rhetoric of the AME Church and its black Protestant leaders.

Despite the AME Church's transnational history and its popularity among West Indians in the Dominican southeast at the turn of the century, the AME Church is most often remembered as a key institution within the "American" enclave in Samana. (5) Scholars and even current AME leaders have described the Samana Americans and the AME Church as unique to the Samana Peninsula, and have not studied immigrant descendants' religious connections to the southeastern region of the island. This historiographical trend is a result of various factors including the lack of primary sources available in Dominican AME churches, historical anti-Haitian and anti-black sentiment in the Dominican Republic, and racist ideologies and practices developed during the Trujillo dictatorship (1930-61) and the subsequent long-term presidency of Joaquin Balaguer (1960-62, 1966-78, 1986-96). Such ideologies have worked to prevent people from labeling Dominicans as black by emphasizing their Spanish heritage and associating black pride and African cultural influences with "foreign" populations located in seemingly isolated cultural enclaves. (6) Consequently, the historiography of the AME Church fails to analyze the ways that African Methodism in the Dominican Republic--and Protestant religion in general-was part of a broader matrix of practices through which Afro-diasporic communities maintained ties to one another. (7)

The history explored in the following pages of this article counters the current narrative of the AME Church in the Dominican Republic, and seeks to bring Dominican history into larger discussions of Afro-diasporic exchange in the circum-Caribbean. By analyzing the history of the AME Church not just in Samana but also in the Dominican southeast between 1899-1916-with a special focus on the story of missionary Jacob Paul James--I restore the centrality of the southeast in Dominican AME Church history and demonstrate that the AME Church provided a critical space for the construction of diasporic connections between West Indians, African-Americans, African-American descendants, and Haitians. (8) By documenting and analyzing the process of Afro-diasporic exchange in the AME Church and the multiple challenges AME missionaries faced in the Dominican Republic, I additionally highlight uneven power dynamics in relationships between African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. My findings thus demonstrate that such hierarchical exchanges fomented tensions between various black ethnic groups even as they united in response to racism, socioeconomic marginalization, and growing state power at the turn of the twentieth century. (9)

African-American Descendants, Cocolos, and the AME Church

In recent years the Americans of Samana, descendants of black freemen who emigrated from the United States to Haiti between 1824 and 1825, have become a popular subject of conversation for academics and tourists interested in diaspora studies and black culture in the Dominican Republic. (10) The immigrants who migrated to Samana were distinct from other colonists on the island because they formed a close-knit community that has endured to the presents In local historical memory as well as academic literature, people portray the Samana Americans as an exceptional case study. They describe the community as an isolated group of immigrants, and highlight their long-term use of English and two Protestant traditions--African Methodism and British Wesleyan Methodism--as evidence of cultural cohesion. Based on empirical evidence, the traditional discourse on the Samana Americans characterizes the community as a centuries-old cultural enclave currently facing extinction due to modernization and the assimilation of new generations.

Among academics, Harmannus Hoetink's seminal article, "'Americans' in Samana" (Hoetink 1962) has shaped the current discourse on the Samana African-American enclave. In the article, Hoetink privileged the history of the Wesleyan Church over the African Methodist Church. He also claimed that the integration of the Wesleyan Church into the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana in 1931 accelerated the cultural assimilation of African-American descendants. While this claim is substantiated with historical evidence, Hoetink did not include a deep analysis of the AME Church even though it had as many members as the Wesleyan Church in 1962. The AME Church furthermore never joined another denomination, and in 1931 some of the older Wesleyan members left the Wesleyan Church for the AME Church "precisely because they resented the 1931 move" (Hoetink 1962:19). While Hoetink stated that these members "saw in the African Methodist Church a 'more English' institution," he did not provide further analysis of the historic meaning of the AME Church among descendants of African-Americans in Samana.

Hoetink's article profoundly influenced the ways that subsequent scholars have discussed both the Samana Americans and the AME Church in the Dominican Republic. More recent research examines the AME Church as an offshoot of the Wesleyan Church, and analyzes traditions in both churches as evidence of historical African-American culture on the island. For example, Martha Ellen Davis, who writes about preaching styles, Church structure, and musical genres in both churches, does not distinguish am e traditions from Wesleyan traditions (Davis 1984:121-25). Most recently, Ryan Mann-Hamilton has conflated am e and Wesleyan history while making the important point that Trujillo's racist policies targeted the Samana American enclave and led to further dominicanization of the community (Mann-Hamilton 2014:222-26; 230-31). Since scholars have relied primarily on oral history and a few nineteenth-century documents, these interpretations largely reflect immigrant descendants' current understandings of Samana American history and the enclave's place within the Dominican nation. Considering that the AME Church is popularly associated only with the Samana American community and is less famous than the Wesleyan Church within Dominican society, the influence of West Indian migration and the AME Church's Afro-diasporic nature have largely been overlooked both in scholarly work and in the contemporary church's understanding of itself.

West Indian migration, however, had a profound effect on the AME Church in the Dominican Republic and led to increased Afro-diasporic connections

among African-American descendants, West Indians, and African-Americans. From the 1880s through the 1920s, labor requirements for the Panama Canal (1904-14), banana cultivation in Central America, and sugar production in Cuba and the Dominican Republic drew tens of thousands of West Indians to the Spanish Caribbean. (12) At the same time, the demand for British Caribbean sugar declined due to the rise of European beet sugar. This economic shift, coupled with natural disasters in the Eastern Caribbean, pushed West Indians to seek work away from their home islands. (13) In the Dominican Republic, sugar producers recruited West Indian labor after Dominican laborers protested falling wages in 1884 (del Castillo 1985:229-31; Bryan 1979:59). Over 4,000 West Indians migrated to the Dominican Republic during the first years of the twentieth century (del Castillo 1985:232). By the 1916 season, labor migrants increased to 6,325 (see the appendix in del Castillo 1978). West Indian labor remained a critical force in the Dominican sugar industry until the late 1920s, when Haitian labor began to supplant it (del Castillo 1978:43; Martinez 1995:40-41).

The influx of migrant workers during the first three decades of the twentieth century increased the numbers of already established black Anglophone communities in the Dominican Republic (Hoetink 1982:158). Since the 182425 Haitian emigration movement, other black migrants had settled in eastern Hispaniola. Ex-slaves from Florida arrived in Puerto Plata to work as indentured servants on the Kingsley plantation between 1837 and 1840 (Puig Ortiz 2011:289; Fleszar 2012:478). In the 1860s, migrants from the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands also traveled to Puerto Plata after the Dominican War of Restoration (1863-65) (Inoa 1999:116). By 1871, West Indians from other islands including Nassau, St. Thomas, and Jamaica also immigrated to the north (Hazard 1873:181), and by 1891 there were 200 West Indians in Samana (Bryan 1979:63). In the south, West Indians worked in San Pedro de Macoris and Santo Domingo (del Castillo 1978:30), where a small community of "American" descendants resided in the 1890s (Hoetink 1982:158).

While earlier nineteenth-century migrations do not compare numerically with the en masse arrival of thousands of West Indians in the early twentieth century, the former set the stage for Afro-diasporic connections and cultural exchanges between African-American descendants, West Indians, and African-Americans. In Samana, for example, African-American descendants hired teachers from Jamaica and the Turks Islands to work in the local schools (Davis 2007:723). There were also intermarriages between West Indians and descendants of African-Americans throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century (Hoetink 1962:10). As Martha Ellen Davis (1984:107) claims, "the relationship between the Dominican English-speaking colonies ... the minor Antilles ... and the United States was one of continuous cultural exchange." (14)

The growth of black Anglophone migrants, however, was not received well by all sectors of Dominican society. In the decades leading up to the U.S. Occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916-24), the Dominican elite attempted to link a racially mixed nation to whiteness by emphasizing European culture. Concerned with modernization and influenced by Anglo-European racist ideologies, elites shunned blackness and viewed immigration from Europe as one way to phenotypically and culturally improve, or "whiten," the Dominican population. (15) Fearing black immigration and unable to counteract the influences of the U.S.-dominated sugar industry, the Dominican press used racial slurs to malign West Indians--or cocolos as they came to be known--attacked their Protestant religion, and criticized their practice of sending wages back to their home islands rather than spending them in the Dominican Republic. Dominican authorities also accused West Indians of immoral acts and threatened them with incarceration and deportation. These discriminatory practices made the Dominican Republic a decidedly hostile place for black migrants at the turn of the twentieth century. (16)

Responding to discrimination, West Indians founded their own institutions or joined already established societies brought to the southeast from elsewhere. These self-help organizations--including churches, schools, mutual aid societies, and masonic lodges--formed part of a larger history of West Indian organizational culture in the Caribbean (Chomsky 1996:147, 178-90; Giovannetti 2006:3; Howard 2015). In the Dominican Republic, both West Indians and African-American descendants were historically involved in such institutions (Mota Acosta 1977:35-37; Lockward 1982:274-80; del Castillo & Murphy 1987:57-58). Like elsewhere, their organizational practices engendered a sense of cultural distinction, and many West Indian migrants and African-American descendants believed that they were fundamentally different--"well mannered" and "better educated"--than their Spanish-speaking counterparts. (17) Thus, both the racism West Indians faced and the resulting insular nature of their community organization contributed to the belief that a sharp racial and cultural divide existed between Dominicans and foreign black Anglophone people. This belief grouped African-American descendant populations with West Indians, even though they belonged to different ethnic groups. (18)

As a black institution that existed in both Samana and the Dominican southeast, the AME Church facilitated exchange between these groups and connected African-American descendants and West Indians to other black people in the United States and the rest of the Caribbean. Although most descendants of African-Americans and West Indian AME members did not travel regularly between Samana, Santo Domingo, and the sugar enclaves of the southeast, the black church was a space in which AME leaders and parishioners imagined themselves in relation to other black people in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. There was a small elite class of Dominican-based AME leaders who traveled between various missionary sites, communicated regularly with African-American clergy, and attended quadrennial conferences in the United States. These leaders kept their congregations informed about the development of the Church in the United States, and maintained the AME connection while facing hardship in the Dominican Republic. A deeper analysis of the Church's history therefore reveals how Dominican-based black Anglophone populations were involved in larger processes of Afro-diasporic exchange in the circum-Caribbean.

The Context of AME Afro-Diasporic Relationships in Hispaniola

Afro-diasporic relationships between African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans in Hispaniola developed intermittently throughout most of the nineteenth century because of the common experiences of slavery, desires for racial equality, and expressions of black nationalism among African-Americans and Haitians (Pamphile 2001:1; Polyne 2010:11). The nature of these relationships changed, however, as African-Americans' ideas about Haiti and the Dominican Republic transformed in the later half of the century. In the early nineteenth century, revolutionary Haiti (1791-1804) was a symbol of black liberty and self-determination for African-Americans (Dixon 2000:25; Pamphile 2001:8-33). After the American Civil War (1861-65), however, African-Americans perceived both Haiti and the Dominican Republic as "black republics" in need of redemption. (19) In a context in which racist representations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic flourished in the United States, African-Americans believed that the success of these countries would challenge Whites' racist views about blacks. The political and economic instability that ravished Haiti and the Dominican Republic, however, undermined their arguments for racial equality. African-Americans thus turned to Protestant missionary work as a way to achieve two parallel goals. At the same time that missionary work would enable African-Americans to fulfill their Christian duty to proselytize, it would also "civilize" Haitians and Dominicans and thus support African-Americans' efforts to secure important political rights as Reconstruction ended and the era of Jim Crow laws began (Byrd 2014:12-18).

From the 1870s to the 1890s, the AME Church led African-American missionary work in Hispaniola. This work was part of a larger history of am e expansion that paralleled U.S. territorial gains in the nineteenth century, and was driven by the ethos of U.S. imperialism and African-Americans' desire to spread their influence abroad. Between 1830 and 1870, the territory of the United States had extended west over the rest of the continental United States and Alaska. Likewise, the AME Church had spread to the west and south of the United States (Berry 1942:61-67). As the U.S. Senate debated whether to annex the Dominican Republic in 1871, the AME Church held its own discussion on missionary expansion in Hispaniola that revealed the emergent transnational ties between the United States and the Dominican Republic. The general sentiment of the times is perhaps best summarized in an article published on January 30, 1873 in The Christian Recorder, the official newspaper of the AME Church. According to the anonymous writer, "On all sides, Providence points to this, as the set time, when we shall, unfurl the banner of the Cross, abroad." (20) From the author's perspective, the way was already prepared for the AME Church. Missions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti were only the beginning of AME global outreach that, if developed correctly, would extend to other Caribbean nations and Africa.

Yet, if Hispaniola represented the first site of AME Church missions in the 1870s, Church leaders did not discuss proposed missionary work in the country in terms of collaboration with already-established AME congregations. Officially founded in Santo Domingo and Samana in 1830 as a result of the 1824-26 emigration movement, AME congregations in the Dominican Republic had languished by the 1870s. (21) In Samana, the AME congregation had joined the Wesleyan denomination as early as 1837 (Findlay & Holdworth 1921:491-96), and the AME denomination no longer existed. In Santo Domingo, the AME congregation continued to practice African Methodism without episcopal oversight, but by 1872 their numbers were greatly reduced. (22)

One reason for the poor state of these Protestant communities in the early 1870s was religious suppression; throughout the nineteenth century African-Americans and their descendants in eastern Hispaniola faced constant threat to their religious freedom as various government leaders aligned with the Catholic Church. Upon the creation of the Dominican nation in 1844, for example, the Dominican government recognized Catholicism as the official religion (Polanco Brito 1970; Perez Memen 1991:15), and the Catholic clergy occasionally lashed out against Protestant communities even though the constitution also guaranteed freedom of religion (Martinez-Fernandez 1995:83). Persecution of Protestants increased after Spain annexed the Dominican Republic in 1861. Imbued with greater power, the Catholic Church under Archbishop Bienvenido Monzon closed Protestant churches and forced African-American descendants to worship in private (Commission of Inquiry 1871:222; Lockward 1993:71-83; Martinez-Fernandez 1995:83). Protestants regained the right to worship publicly only after the Dominican Republic won independence from Spain in the War of Restoration (1863-65). Yet, after the many wars African-American communities were impoverished and numerically reduced. Facing destitution, by 1871 African-American colonies in Samana, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Plata supported annexation to the United States, which they believed would guarantee religious freedom and bring peace and stability to the country (Commission of Inquiry 1871:228; Wilkins 2014:213).

The prospect of annexation opened up channels of communication between Dominican-based African-American colonists and African-Americans in the United States. In 1871, for example, Frederick Douglass met African-American descendants in Samana and Santo Domingo as he traveled with the U.S. Commission of Inquiry in the Dominican Republic. African-Americans residing in Samana continued to correspond with Douglass after his departure (Wilkins 2014:213). Douglass's visit to Santo Domingo most likely also inspired the AME congregation to write to the AME Church in the United States. On February 23, 1872, the congregation petitioned the U.S. Church to send a minister and provide financial aid for its branch in the Dominican capital. (23) Letters from Samana and Santo Domingo thus demonstrate that appeals for connection between African-American descendants and African-Americans in the United States were mutual, albeit sparse in the 1870s.

It was not until 1882, more than a decade after discussions of sending missionaries to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, that the AME Church reestablished its ties to the Santo Domingo congregation. This was much later than the Church's missionary work in Haiti, which began again in 1873 (Payne 1891:479; Steward 1921:149-50; Byrd 2014:13-18). Moreover, unlike missionary work in Haiti, in the Dominican Republic the am e Church did not sponsor a missionary who traveled solely for religious purposes. Instead, the relationship between the am e Church and "Americans" in the capital was upheld by two key developments in 1882: the arrival of U.S. Consul Henry C.C. Astwood in Santo Domingo and the education of Jacob Paul James, the son of African-American immigrants in Samana, who left the island to pursue theological education in the United States.

During the time that Astwood worked as the U.S. Consul in Santo Domingo, he took charge of the congregation in the capital and reestablished its ties with the United States. He also helped to rebuild the am e chapel, and grew the membership with the help of West Indian and Haitian leaders. One of Astwood's first tasks was to restore the church building, which had fallen into disrepair. (24) He used his own money to rent a house for two years so that the congregation could meet there while they worked to reconstruct the old residence. (25) Other missionaries came to assist Astwood and recruit new members. (26) Under Rev. Alphonso H. Mevs, who came from Haiti in 1886, the church grew to forty-five members with an average attendance of one hundred people every Sunday. (27) In 1889, Rev. Charles E. Goodin from the Turks Islands replaced Mevs and worked with another Haitian preacher, Claudio Francois, in serving the congregation. (28) After a bitter dispute between Goodin and Astwood, however, the growing mission lost much of its impetus. By 1896, the AME Church declared its missionary work in the Dominican Republic lost. (29)

Two years later, in 1898, Jacob Paul James attended the Chicago Annual Conference held in Evanston, Illinois, an event that would change the course of AME history in the Dominican Republic. During the conference, the Missionary Secretary Henry Blanton Parks appointed James to the Santo Domingo mission. (30) James's background made him an ideal candidate for leadership in the Dominican Republic. Unlike the Haitian and West Indian missionaries who led the AME Church in the 1880s, James was born in Samana. He was the son of Jacob James, a well-known local preacher. James was also very much tied to the broader project of the U.S. AME Church. Having left the Dominican Republic at the age of sixteen in 1882, James was among a small group of black foreigners who pursued education in the United States before joining the ministry. (31) Upon arriving in the United States, James established ties with prominent African Methodist leaders, which facilitated his transition in the country. Writing to William Fischer Dickerson, an AME bishop, for advice on where to matriculate, James received encouragement from Dickerson and another minister, Rev. Wood, to attend the Academy of Beloit College in Wisconsin. (32) There, James joined other students from the Caribbean and pursued classical studies for five years from 1882-87. (33)

Between 1885 and 1899, James spent fourteen years working as a minister in the AME Church, traveling throughout the Midwestern United States. While at Beloit, he joined the AME Church under Rev. Wood, who most likely mentored him in the discipline of the Church. In 1885, James earned his license to preach and was subsequently appointed to the Beloit mission church, where he served for three years. Over the next decade, James pastored various churches in the U.S. Midwest: Minneapolis, Minnesota (two years); Albia, Iowa (one year); Clarinda, Iowa (one and a half years); Princeton, Illinois (two years); Knoxville, Illinois (one year); and Racine, Wisconsin (one year). (34) He was ordained deacon in 1887 and elder in 1890. By the time he was appointed to Santo Domingo, his many years in the United States had aptly prepared him to make the move back to his native island. He had gained experience in AME religious traditions and had formed friendships with dozens of African Methodist leaders. These relationships and his extensive experience connected him intimately to the AME Church in the United States and were two reasons why James remained committed to the AME Church throughout his missionary career.

The reestablishment of ecclesiastical structure in Santo Domingo in 1882 and again in 1898 signaled a new period of Protestant activity in the capital. Once the congregation was brought back into the AME fold, bishops in the United States were required to appoint pastors to Santo Domingo. While this ecclesiastical structure did not always function smoothly, it provided a hierarchical organization in which foreign black religious leaders headed black congregations, and congregations submitted to the ecclesiastical authority of a foreign bishopric. Such organization became increasingly important as Jacob Paul James took charge of the congregation in Santo Domingo in January of 1899. From 1899 until his death in 1923, James was the AME Missionary Department's head representative in the Dominican Republic, and he worked tirelessly to maintain the connection to the Church in the United States as he spread African Methodism to Samana and other regions of the island. (35)

The AME Mission 1899-1908

At the same time that James's appointment perpetuated the AME Church's institutional structure in the Dominican Republic, his leadership also signaled a break from former patterns of AME religious work on the island. A product of African-American efforts to educate young men for the ministry, James was closely acquainted with the racial system in the United States and African-American ideas of racial uplift. Unlike African-American leaders, however, James did not write explicitly about race and racism in the letters and reports he sent to AME leaders. This curious neglect of race is startling--especially as the United States became more involved in Dominican affairs and Dominican elites lashed out against black migration. A close reading of James's writings, however, suggests two possible reasons for his standpoint. First, while African-American leaders aimed to reach black people abroad, James's purpose as posed in his writings was to gain Protestant converts. His target audience was the Dominican Republic's poor and at least at first, this audience included Spanish-speaking Dominicans--most of whom were African descendants. Yet, instead of describing Dominicans' blackness and race relations on the island, James wrote to the Missionary Department about the challenges facing the AME Church's growth in Santo Domingo: wars, poverty, and the Catholic Church. James's letters thus highlight the distinctions between African-Americans' aims and the actual experiences of missionaries on the island. Second, as one who grew up in the Dominican Republic, James was also fully aware of his precarious position as a black Protestant in the country. Accordingly, he may have followed local convention and carefully avoided writing about race and politics. In this regard, he also found solace in his hometown of Samana, a place seemingly set apart from the rest of the island, and which he initially prioritized for missionary work above Santo Domingo.

Within two years of his return to the Dominican Republic, James ran four missionary posts in separate regions of the country and had moved the AME headquarters to Samana. (36) Familiar with the way of life of rural Dominicans as well as the peculiarities of the Samana enclave, James felt most at home among the Samana African-American descendants and was able to draw on the familial and social ties in his institutional work. Both James's father, Jacob James, and uncle, Theophilus James, had been prominent leaders in the community. Jacob James Sr. led the Wesleyan congregation in Samana for years and was recognized as a local preacher by the American Bible Society, while his brother Theophilus was an officer in the Haitian army and had traveled to Britain for school (Commission of Inquiry 1871:228-32). Jacob Paul James's wife, Sophia, was from the Turks Islands, a British territory that had strong links to the "American" enclaves at Puerto Plata and Samana. (37) Moreover, the eight men and eight women who signed the AME Church's constitution in Samana had likely all known James since childhood (Lockward 1982:284). The fame of the AME Church among the Samana migrant community, along with internal conflicts in the neighboring Wesleyan Church, also drew new members to the AME denomination (Willmore 2011:267). It was thus evident to James that Samana--a town where he knew almost everyone, where people spoke English, and the community was familiar with the history of the AME Church--was a promising stronghold for the AME Church.

Unlike Samana, Santo Domingo was a much less appealing post for many reasons. First, political unrest and constant civil wars made it dangerous and difficult for the parishioners in the capital to meet. In 1899 Ulisis Heureaux, a mix-race caudillo from Puerto Plata and a notorious dictator who held the presidency when James and Sophia first moved to Santo Domingo, was shot by a group of rebels. Joining Juan Isidro Jimenes, who returned from exile after Heureaux's death, the young revolutionaries helped to form the new government, electing Jimenes as president and Horatio Vasquez as vice-president. Conflicts between the two leaders and their political allies, however, led to more political strife. On April 26, 1902, Vasquez called his supporters to arms in open rebellion against Jimenes. Days later, he stormed the capital forcing the president to resign on May 2. The civil war that ensued instigated a series of rebellions between 1903 and 1905 in which horacistas, jimenistas, and lilistas (Heureaux's political followers) vied for power until Ramon Caceres became president on December 29, 1905 (Mejia 2011:27-88; Moya Pons 2002:432-43). The constant political instability made it hard for James to evangelize in the capital. Describing 1903 as a year filled with "disappointments ... war, bloodshed, and strife," James gave thanks to God that his parishioners' lives had been spared as he reported on the financial trouble the congregations faced and petitioned for aid from the church in the United States. (38)

The strong presence of the Catholic Church in the capital presented another challenge to the AME Church in Santo Domingo. Although the Catholic Church remained weak and subordinate to the Dominican state in the early twentieth century (Betances 2009:55), it was still deeply tied to Dominican government and society (Moya Pons 1973:14; Moreta Castillo 1998:143). "Roman Catholic institutions are deeply rooted and the power of the Romish clergy in this community is great and vigilantly exercised," James wrote (39) Since 1844, when the Dominican constitution made Catholicism the official religion, the Dominican government had drafted and passed through Congress a concordat (Betances 2009:67). (40) The Catholic Church's influence also increased after 1885 when the Dominican nationalist priest Fernando Arturo de Merino became archbishop of Santo Domingo. During his tenure from 1885-1906, Merino worked to dominicanize the Catholic clergy and restore the Church's control over education after Eugenio Maria de Hostos, a Puerto Rican philosopher, helped to establish liberal reforms. (41) This context made the Dominican Republic "hard soil" for James's Protestant work (42)

Comparing the small Protestant mission to the Catholic Church, James noted that not much could be done in Santo Domingo without more help from the Missionary Department and funds for a missionary school. Whereas the Catholic Church had fifteen parishes in a city of nearly 25,000 people, the AME Church had only one congregation of forty members and the former elders of the Church were all deceased. While the Catholic Church ran well-equipped schools in which they did "a good deal of charitable work," the AME Church taught English and Spanish to thirty-five children in one day-school. The Catholic Church received government funding and, as James reported, the government gave "no aid to our Protestant work." He and Sophia also "failed to receive any aid from the home church, notwithstanding we made several applications." These facts made it clear to James that the AME Church could not compete with the Catholic Church on a large scale. (43) Nevertheless, James did believe that the Protestant Church could make a small local impact in the capital if the Missionary Department would invest in schools. "We must show the people that we are interested not only in their religious welfare, but that we are interested in their social and intellectual welfare as well," he explained. (44) As other missionaries of his time, James believed in social reform as a part of the missionary practice. The neglect of the Missionary Department, however, proved to be another chronic constraint on missions in the Dominican Republic and in Santo Domingo in particular, where the congregation was in a greater state of poverty than in Samana.

African-American church leaders' views on missionary work in the Dominican Republic have not been explored to the same extent as in Haiti, Cuba, and South Africa, and thus require a deeper analysis (45) However, in summary, the pattern of African-Americans' thoughts and actions toward AME missionary churches in the Dominican Republic is similar to what scholars have observed in other regions. They can be summarized into four main points of contention. First, the Missionary Department lacked funds. Second and third, the AME Church tried to expand in too many places, and it focused on other places deemed of greater importance. Fourth, the Church's leaders did not adequately prepare for the cultural nuances of working in non-Anglophone, predominately Catholic territories.

As an African-American institution, the AME Church's finances reflected the poor state of its members at the end of the nineteenth century. Despite this reality, by 1899 the Church supported missions in the U.S. south and west, and foreign missions in Canada, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Bermuda, Barbados, British Guiana, Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic (Parks 1899). The result was a frenzy of missionary activity that the underfunded Missionary Department, which brought in $16,301.55 for the fiscal year ending May 1899, could not adequately support (46) Facing these realities, AME leaders allocated the funds to places they deemed most important--primarily the United States and countries in Africa. (47) 48 Yet, even these regions suffered. Since the Dominican Republic held low priority among the "black nations," the Missionary Department largely ignored the troubles that James and his parishioners faced.

The lack of finances and the expansionist drive among AME leaders in the United States consequently created an ambiguous policy in which the African-American clergy acknowledged the nuances of missionary work in Catholic Caribbean countries, while the Missionary Department did little to address them. On his trip around the Caribbean in 1901, for example, Bishop Charles Spencer Smith met Jacob P. James and the Haitian Presiding Elder, Solomon G. Dorce, in Port-au-Prince where he held the joint session of the Haitian and Dominican Republic conference. Smith, who chronicled his travels in six letters published in The Christian Recorder, distinguished Haiti and the Dominican Republic as Catholic countries where the Catholic Church "stoutly contests every attempted advance of Protestantism." (48) In other instances, AME leaders acknowledged the need for Spanish-speaking missionaries in the Dominican Republic and Cuba (Griffin 1960:29). These observations of religious and lingual differences, however, did not motivate African-American religious leaders to rethink their evangelical strategy (49) Perhaps exasperated by the expansionist push and the constant neglect of the Missionary Department, James warned the Church to "count the cost before undertaking new work in Catholic communities." (50) But, judging by the lack of money and workers sent to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti, it seemed that African-American leaders' desire for influence in the Caribbean was satisfied simply by the existence of the Church abroad, a status that enhanced the denomination's prestige in the United States.

The difficulties that Santo Domingo presented, coupled with James's familial ties to Samana, meant that Samana was a more appealing missionary post during the early years of James's ministry. Consequently, between 1899 and 1908, the AME Church grew more rapidly in Samana than in Santo Domingo and the two other AME preaching points at San Pedro de Macoris and Monte Cristi. In 1900 the congregations at Samana and Santo Domingo had twenty-five and twenty members respectively. By 1908, there were roughly 125 members in Samana and only sixty split between Santo Domingo and San Pedro de Macoris (Monte Cristi was abandoned). Over time, this fact gave the impression that the AME Church originated in Samana. James's move north, however, took place before he could anticipate that the AME church would gain over half of its membership from West Indians in the southeast in the 1910s.

The Rise of the Southeast 1908-16

Between 1908 and 1916, the African Methodist congregations in the southeast grew dramatically. Most of the growth during this period took place after 1912 and was instigated by the "new" San Pedro de Macoris mission that was increasingly taking up more of James's time. Whereas in 1908 the Church consisted of 185 members, by 1914 the Church had 554 members, 800 followers, and 185 Sunday school students, with a total property valuation of $11,000 (Rankin 1914:15). Two years later, in 1916, Dominican AME membership topped 700 and the total property value of the Church increased to $17,000. The southeast, and San Pedro in particular, led in these changes. Membership in San Pedro (250), the Puerto Rico sugar mill in San Pedro (75); and Santo Domingo (100) totaled 425 in 1916, 55 percent more than that in Samana (275) (Rankin 1916:30). (51) Considering the substantial obstacles to growth in the southeast, this increase in membership was remarkable and demonstrated the Church's appeal to West Indians, who were attracted to its black leadership and the opportunity to worship free from white control (Garcia Muniz & Giovannetti 2003:160).

Before the AME Church in the southeast could reach its zenith in the late 1910s, however, it still faced longstanding problems along with a new one. By 1912, new white missionaries representing British, Puerto Rican, and American Protestant churches joined the Catholic Church and posed a threat to burgeoning AME congregations. For the first time, James began to articulate a racial issue in his letters. "White Methodists ... Moravians, Wesleyans are ... ready to take advantage of the opportunities offered," wrote James. (52) They "are doing what they can to outstrip us in this field." (53) These denominations were well funded and came with "sufficient means to build churches" while the AME Church continued to struggle financially, stretched to even pay for repairs and other small projects. For example, in San Pedro de Macoris, the Moravians built an iron church in 1911. The AME building, on the other hand, was "not convenient for the services," and James had struggled to raise money to enclose the property. (54) In Santo Domingo, the AME Church had no place of worship at all, and James warned "We must have ... a church at Santo Domingo City ... or give up our work there." (55) To James it was evident that the people would go where they would receive the most help, even if white clergy discriminated against black parishioners, causing them to feel "very humiliated." (56) Explaining these conditions at the 1912 AME General Conference held in Kansas City, James once again appealed to AME leaders in the United States for aid. (57)

Political instability also mitigated the Church's growth spurt. While James was in Kansas City, the Dominican Republic experienced one of the bloodiest civil wars in its history. Since the assassination of President Ramon Caceres on November 19, 1911, jimenistas and horacistas once again fought to regain control of the Dominican government, which following the Spanish-American War (1898) had increasingly come under the influence of the United States. Employing the 1907 Convention, which granted the United States power over the Dominican custom house and the right to intervene in Dominican affairs, President William H. Taft dispatched a U.S. peace commission and 750 marines to the Dominican Republic. This aggressive move facilitated the establishment of the provisional government under the Catholic Bishop Adolfo Alejandro Nouel, who became president on November 30, 1912. Nouel's short-lived presidency ended, however, with a fraudulent election and the outbreak of war again in 1913 (Moya Pons 2002:452-58). As before, political unrest kept Protestants from meeting, and the unsettled conditions were, in James's words, "very much against the progress of our work." (58)

Unlike the earlier period, however, James was much more attentive to the development of AME churches in the southeast, which he began to prioritize after officially establishing the am e church in San Pedro de Macoris in February 1912. During the founding of the San Pedro church, James appointed a local preacher, Horsford Jones, but since Jones was not an ordained minister, the responsibility for the San Pedro congregation fell upon James. (59) In December 1912, James made plans to switch places with Jones and temporarily move his headquarters to San Pedro, where he would conduct religious rites, manage debts, make repairs to the church building, and attempt to compete with the white denominations.

Before he could make the move, however, James received a letter from the AME Secretary of Missions, J.W. Rankin, which perhaps represents the best example of African-American leaders' disregard of Dominican missions. As if Rankin knew nothing of the heightened pressure upon James in San Pedro and the political wars that ravished the nation, the letter dated January 7, 1913, informed James of his appointment to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This surprising reassignment demonstrated how ignorant the Missionary Department was of the realities of missionary work on the island. It also repeated the pattern of undervaluing the Dominican Republic. James was quick to point out these faults. "Santo Domingo has never had the help from the home church that Haiti has had," he wrote in his response to Rankin, "and yet with the exception of the iron church building at Port-au-Prince, we have much more in this republic than we have in Haiti." Informing the Missionary Secretary of the successful developments in the southeast and the challenges facing missionary work in the Dominican Republic, James stated, "I don't think that we should destroy one work to build up another." (60)

Dr. Rankin responded to James's embarrassing letter in three ways. First, he notified James that his appointment to Haiti had been revoked and that James was to remain in the Dominican Republic. (61) Second, reacting to James's complaint that no episcopal officer had visited the country since his arrival in 1898, Rankin planned a trip to the Dominican Republic in October of 1913. His plans, however, were thwarted shortly thereafter, when another battle, the "Railroad Revolution," ensued between jimenistas and horacistas. "It was providential that you postponed your proposed visit to us this month," James wrote from San Pedro de Macoris. "We are at present entirely cut off from our work in the north of the Island." (62) Asking for prayers for the country, James explained that the church in Samana was shut down while "Here at San Pedro and in the capital the work goes on as usual." This marked a reversal of earlier trends when war inhibited James's work in the capital, and demonstrated one of the few ways that the southeastern congregations benefitted indirectly from their proximity to government and U.S. business interests.

Rankin's third response was to appoint two additional missionaries, Rev. Worst and Rev. Thomas, to the Dominican Republic in early 1914. In doing so, however, the Missionary Department once again disregarded the need for Spanish-speaking missionaries and caused further problems for James. (63) It quickly became apparent that neither Thomas nor Worst was prepared to face the challenges of missionary work in the country. Both ministers lacked money to travel and had to borrow heavily from James upon their initial arrival. Moreover, the salaries from the Missionary Department often came late and were never as high as they should have been. Facing poverty, the two preachers complained to Rankin about James and attempted to leave the Dominican Republic, much to James's chagrin (64) James, on the other hand, faulted the new missionaries for taking advantage of his hospitality and financial aid, while undermining his authority, expressing jealousy of other leaders, and injuring the work (65) "Neither Worst nor Thomas would undergo what we have undergone in this country in striving to build up our work," James wrote. (66) The new missionaries, however, were likely reacting to the discrepancies between missionary work in the Dominican Republic and their former experiences as AME ministers in the United States. (67) The problems that these men faced thus reflected the inequality inherent in diasporic relationships between African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans and the frictions that such inequality produced.

As the congregations in the southeast continued to grow throughout the 1910s, James took action to relieve the tension caused by the Missionary Department's blunders and ensure the Church's success in the southeast. Prior to 1913, James had sent his nephew to study theology at Howard University in Washington dc in order that he might return to the Dominican Republic to help with the growing southeastern churches. (68) In the meantime, James replaced Worst in San Pedro with Joseph McKay, a West Indian catechist who had aided him in Santo Domingo since 1908. (69) Frederick Faide, also from the capital, assisted James in Samana, while James moved Jones to the Puerto Rico sugar mill. These men, all West Indians and African-American immigrant descendants, buttressed the denomination's institutional organization in the country. They continued to motivate growth in the southeast until the U.S. Occupation (1916-24), the racist policies the occupation instituted, and other political and socioeconomic developments in the 1920s devastated the southeastern AME congregations. (70)

The troubles to come, however, were not immediately apparent in 1916 and 1917. As the United States invaded the Dominican Republic, James attended the twenty-fifth General Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in May 1916, where he once again reported to African-American leaders on the status of the church's Dominican missions. After his return, he continued to focus his attention on the burgeoning congregations in the southeast. He wrote of McKay's progress, property issues in Santo Domingo and San Pedro, and persistent disagreements with Rev. Thomas. He also continued to note the growing efforts of white missionaries to "occupy" the country, and repeatedly implored African-American leaders to send resources to the Dominican Republic so that the AME Church could compete with them. (71) Committed to growing the AME Church, James persisted in his work of nearly two decades. Since 1899, he had built up a Church that united Anglophone black populations on the island and across the circum-Caribbean, concretizing a pattern established in the nineteenth century. These relationships would endure throughout the twentieth century as James and other Church members lived out their lives as black Protestants in a Catholic land.


Today, most people believe that the AME Church in the Dominican Republic exists only in Samana. Those who know of the Church's historical presence in the southeast tend to talk about its connection to the cocolo West Indian communities without linking its history to Samana. Unwittingly, the recent academic and popular discourse on the Samana Americans has done little to counter this narrative. By tying AME history to the narrative of the Samana enclave's exceptionality, the current discourse perpetuates an interpretive framework that marginalizes blackness by relegating the Church and its black history to a certain "isolated" region (Samana) and a population that has historically been constructed as foreign (African-American descendants).

However, between 1886 and 1916, AME membership increased nearly 1600 percent in the Dominican Republic, and by 1916 the Church's traditional demographic base had completely transformed. For much of the nineteenth century, the AME denomination was tied to one community of African-American descendants living in Santo Domingo. In 1916, the West Indian population made up the majority of African Methodists on the island and the largest congregation out of four was stationed at San Pedro de Macoris.

The contemporary AME Church in the Dominican Republic is therefore better interpreted as the result of the diasporic connections forged between multiple black communities throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For years, scholars have studied the flows of ideas, people, and goods within the Caribbean and across the Atlantic, and within the last two decades academics have increasingly examined and theorized specific episodes in the historical exchanges between people of the African diaspora. The history of the AME Church in the Dominican Republic provides another example of how distinct black ethnic groups were united in abstract and tangible ways. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Dominican Republic was included in African-Americans' black nationalist imaginings. "Americans" and black Anglophone migrants in the Dominican Republic likewise saw them selves in relation to other black people in the circum-Caribbean. As the history told here demonstrates, Afro-diasporic relationships in the AME Church were often burdened by inequalities that mapped onto geographical distinctions and caused tension between Church leaders. The fact that black Anglophone groups in the Dominican Republic pursued ties with African-Americans in the United States despite the difficulties involved underscores the importance of these relationships to missionaries like James and connects the Dominican Republic to larger transnational currents of Afro-diasporic exchange in the circum-Caribbean.


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Christina Cecelia Davidson *

Duke University, History Department, Durham, NC 27708-0719, U.S.A.

* I would like to acknowledge the United Methodist Church General Commission on Archives and History for the 2013-14 "Racial/Ethnic History Research Grant" that I received to complete this research.

(1) The AME Church emerged from the Free African Society founded by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones in 1787 as a response to the racism Blacks faced in the Methodist Church. See Payne 1891:3-18 and Smith 1922:13-14.

(2) The exception to this rule was the Episcopal priest Benjamin Wilson, a West Indian who began work in San Pedro de Macoris circa 1894 and was affiliated with Bishop Theodore Holly of Haiti. See Wheaton & Wipfler 1997:27-41. White Episcopal missionaries later rejected Wilson when they established churches in 1918. The Moravian Church came in 1907 and the Methodist Church came in the form of the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana in 1922.

(3) For founding in Hispaniola, see "Voices from Santo Domingo or Haiti, Which Sounded Forty-Eight Years Ago," The Christian Recorder, March 8, 1877, and Payne 1891:65. For emigration, see Stephens 1974; Jackson 1976; Winch 1988; Dixon 2000:34-47; Pamphile 2001:39-46; Hidalgo 2001; Newman 2008:245-63; Minaya 2012; Puig Ortiz 2011; and Fanning 2015.

(4) I use the following terminology: "Black" to refer to people of African descent; "West Indian" to refer to British Caribbeans who migrated to the Dominican Republic. The term "Afrodiasporic" is used as the adjectival form of African Diaspora, see Guridy 2010:4-7. Dominican Republic is used to refer to the eastern side of Hispaniola post 1844, and Santo Domingo is used to refer only to the capital. In all cases, these terms present issues due to their ahistorical nature and the universal way they are deployed; I employ them here to improve clarity.

(5) See Hoetink 1962:14-15; Davis 1984:104-13; Smith 1987; Aracena 2000:39; Davis 2007; Sanchez 2008; Davis 2011; Willmore 2011; and Mann-Hamilton 2010 and 2014.

(6) For anti-Haitianism and racist ideology in Dominican historiography and society: Cassa 1976:73-84; Franco 1979:143-47; Fennema & Loewenthal 1987; Derby 1994; Baud 1996; Torres-Saillant 1998; Sagas 2000; Howard 2001; Turits 2002 and 2003:144-80; Martinez 2003; Gonzalez 2010; and Liberato 2013.

(7) For examples of Afro-diasporic links, see Brock and Castaneda Fuertes 1998; Matory 2005; Curry, Duke & Smith 2009; Seigel 2009; Guridy 2010; Polyne 2010; and Rahier, Hintzen & Smith 2010. Literature on Afro-diasporic "dialogue" (Matory 2005) is also closely tied to the abundant literature on black internationalism and Caribbean migratory flows. For examples, see James 1998; Hoffnung-Garskof 2001; and Putnam 2013.

(8) This study primarily covers links between Dominican-based black Anglophone groups and African-Americans in the United States.

(9) Other scholars have theorized about the implications of hierarchy and tensions within black diasporic relationships. For examples, see Guridy 2010:12-13 and "frictions" in Hintzen & Rahier 2010:xiii.

(10) For academics, see footnotes 3 and 5. For tourists and general interest, see Samana College, Dominican Republic, Programs, "Samana, D.R. History Study Abroad Program," August 2, 2006,; Weeks & Ramirez Zabala 2005; Henry Louis Gates Jr. & Kristin Britanik, "Dominican and Black American Roots?," The Root, October 18, 2013,; and "Dominican Republic, The Samana Peninsula: African-Americans in Samana," Rough Guides, dominican-republic/saman%C3%A1-peninsula/saman%C3%A1-around/african -americans-saman%C3%A1/. More examples are available on the Internet. Lockward's forthcoming documentary is a notable exception to the academic and general literature. See Alanna Lockward, Allen Report: Retracing Transnational African Methodism, https://

(11) Unlike other African-American immigrant communities, the Samana Americans maintained their identity as Americans perhaps due to their strength in number and endogamous practices (Commission of Inquiry 1871:230).

(12) Proudfoot 1950:92; Bryan 1979:64; Richardson 1989:209; and Richardson 2004:441-43. For Central America, see Chomsky 1996. For Panama Canal, Newton 1984 and Conniff 1985.

(13) Beachey 1957:142-46; del Castillo 1978:8 and 1985:224; and Marshall 1987:20.

(14) The exact ratios of African-Americans to West Indians in the north and southeast are unknown, but there were more Americans in Samana than West Indians, and the former did not migrate en masse to San Pedro. Thus, collaboration happened mostly in regions where they were already established.

(15) Cassa 1976:65-72; del Castillo 1978:42; Baud 1996:125 and 131; Martinez-Vergne 2005:23; and Mayes 2014:61-62.

(16) Del Castillo 1978:42; Bryan 1979:69; and Martinez-Vergne 2005:87-90.

(17) Hoetink 1962:13; Davis 1984:100; del Castillo & Murphy 1987:57; Howard 2001:24; and Mayes 2014:98-99. Giovannetti 2006 and Queeley 2010 observe the same in Cuba.

(18) Here, I use Hoetink's concept of somatic norm image (Hoetink 1967:120). Both African-American descendants and West Indians fell outside of the aesthetic ideal, and both were constructed as foreign others.

(19) Meier 1963:63-67; Adeleke 1998; Polyne 2010:6; Byrd 2014:2; and Garcia-Pena 2015:16.

(20) "What Hinders?" The Christian Recorder, January 30, 1873. This article is a response to a letter that African-American descendants in Santo Domingo sent to the AME Church in the United States in 1872.

(21) At the 1840 General Conference, the AME Church declared its branches in Haiti lost (Handy 1902:136).

(22) "Communications. Bethel in the West Indies," The Christian Recorder, March 30, 1872.

(23) "Communications. Bethel in the West Indies," The Christian Recorder, March 30, 1872.

(24) Hon. H.C.C. Astwood, "Letter from San Domingo," The Christian Recorder, February 22, 1883.

(25) Payne 1891:481; "Consagracion de la iglesia protestante A.M.E.," August 13, 1884, Coleccion Jose Gabriel Garcia, Archivo General de la Nacion, Santo Domingo.

(26) "The Following, As Will Be Seen, Is from San Domingo," The Christian Recorder, September 5, 1889.

(27) Rev. A.H. Mevs, "A Word from the Santo Domingo Mission," The Christian Recorder, July 29, 1886.

(28) "Bro. C.E. Goodin, of the Turks Islands has been appointed to as," The Christian Recorder, March 21, 1889. Astwood was also from the Turks Islands. He became a U.S. citizen circa 1880. See "Ordained," The Christian Recorder, July 26, 1883.

(29) Rev. C.S. Smith, "A Trip to the West Indies," The Christian Recorder, March 5, 1986.

(30) "A.M.E. Church Work at Samana, Santo Domingo," The Voice of Missions 18 (2) February 1910, p. 6.

(31) Payne 1891:480 and Campbell 1995:250. For Afro-Caribbeans in U.S. education, see Guridy 2010:18 and Davis 2007:724.

(32) "Rev. J.F. James," The Christian Recorder, April 12, 1900.

(33) "Rev. J.F. James," The Christian Recorder, April 12, 1900. Via telephone in September, 2012, a Beloit College archivist confirmed that James attended the preparatory academy from 1882-87 along with other Caribbean students.

(34) J.H. Reedy to C.H. Sawyer, 15 July 1920, Microfilm Publication M1490: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906-March 31, 1925, Roll 1303; Record Group 59, National Archives and Records Administration (hereafter NARA). See also footnote 32.

(35) There is evidence that James was involved with the Santo Domingo congregation prior to 1899. In 1893, while visiting the Dominican Republic, he investigated the status of the AME Church. See "News of the Week," The Christian Recorder, June 1, 1893.

(36) Besides Santo Domingo, there were AME outposts in San Pedro de Macoris and Monte Cristi. The San Pedro Mission began with a few West Indian migrants as early as 1890, although not much is reported about this small group. See reference to Macoris and Monte Cristi in "News of the Week," The Christian Recorder, October 2, 1890; "Rev. J.P. James," The Christian Recorder, April 12, 1900; and J.P. James, "Santo Domingo City. August 23rd," The Christian Recorder, September 20, 1900. For James's move, see Moses Vanderhorst, "Cornerstone Laying of the A.M.E. Church at Samana, Santo Domingo," Voice of Missions 9(9) September 1901, pp. 14-15; and "A Letter from Rev. J.P. James, Santo Domingo City, Santo Domingo," Voice of Missions 9 (1) January 1901, p. 14.

(37) Microfilm Publication M1490: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906-March 31, 1925, Roll 1303; Record Group 59, NARA.

(38) Rev. J.P. James, "The Conditions of the Work in Samana," Voice of Missions 11 (3) March 1903, p. 15.

(39) Rev. J.P. James, "A Word from Santo Domingo City," Voice of Missions 10 (1) January 1902, p. 16.

(40) Congress never sent the 1884 concordat to the Vatican, and therefore it was never ratified.

(41) Moya Pons 1973:14-15; Saez 1979:70 and 2005:99; Lluberes 1998:120-23; and Betances 2009:68.

(42) Rev. J.P. James, "A Word from Santo Domingo City," Voice of Missions 10 (1) January 1902, p. 16.

(43) Rev. J.P. James, "A Word from Santo Domingo City," Voice of Missions 10 (1) January 1902, p. 16.

(44) Rev. J.P. James, "A Word from Santo Domingo City," Voice of Missions 10 (1) January 1902, p. 16.

(45) For Haiti, Cuba, and South Africa, see Dodson 1998; Campbell 1995; and Byrd 2014.

(46) The books balanced in 1898-99, but the Missionary Department asked for more funds (Parks 1899:17).

(47) Rev. J.P. James, "Santo Domingo City," Voice of Missions 12 (9) September 1904, p. 15.

(48) "Here and There; Bishop Smith's West Indian Tour. Letter Number 6," The Christian Recorder, May 9, 1901.

(49) The 1916 Quadrennial Report calls for Spanish-speaking missionaries sixteen years after James petitioned for the same in 1900 (Rankin 1916: 29); J.P. James, "Santo Domingo City, August 23rd," The Christian Recorder, September 20, 1900. Dodson 1998:89 and Byrd 2014:16 observe the same for Cuba and Haiti.

(50) Rev. J.P. James, "A Word from Santo Domingo City," Voice of Missions 10 (1) January 1902, p. 16.

(51) The Puerto Rico sugar mill was probably owned by the South Puerto Rican Sugar Company. The AME church there is also mentioned in Wheaton & Wipfer 1887:78-79.

(52) J.P. James, "Samana, Santo Domingo, August 31, 1911," The Voice of Missions 19 (10) October 1911, p. 10.

(53) James to Rankin, 4 February 1913, AME Missions Records, New York Public Library (hereafter NYPL).

(54) James to Rankin, 18 September 1912, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(55) J.P. James, "Samana, Santo Domingo, August 31, 1911," The Voice of Missions 19 (10) October 1911, p. 10.

(56) James to Rankin, 4 February 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(57) "Statement of the AME Church Missions in the Republic of Santo Domingo," AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(58) James to Rankin, September 18, 1912, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(59) James to Rankin, February 4, 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(60) James to Rankin, February 4, 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(61) James to Rankin, March 10, 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(62) James to Rankin, September 18, 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(63) Worst and Thomas most likely did not speak Spanish, and James was disappointed that the expected missionary, Rev. Garcia, who probably spoke Spanish, was replaced. James to J.W. Rankin, January 12, 1914, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(64) James to Rankin, February 10, 1917, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(65) James to Rankin, July 15, 1916, AME Missions Records, NYPL; James to Rankin, August 12, 1916, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(66) James to Rankin, August 12, 1916, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(67) Originally from the Caribbean, Thomas initially had no intention of returning after he became an AME minister in the United States. Worst also preferred the United States, where he returned in 1916. James to Rankin, February 4, 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(68) James to Rankin, February 4, 1913, AME Missions Records, NYPL.

(69) James to Rankin, March 6, 1916, AME Missions Records, NYPL. James dealt with Rev. Thomas's insubordination in the capital until Thomas's unexpected death in 1918 (Rankin 1914:5).

(70) The decline of the southeastern congregations in the 1920s is tied to the suppression of Garveyism in the country. As white Americans interpreted their relationship to the island's inhabitants through white supremacy and American imperialist notions (see Calder 1984:124-25 and Renda 2001), West Indians in San Pedro established a chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, which held its first meeting in the AME church in 1919. The U.S. Marines and local government acted quickly to squash the movement and deport its principal leaders, thus dampening AME Church growth in the southeast. See Wheaton & Wipfler (1997); Garcia Muniz & Giovannetti (2003); and Mayes 2014:95-105.

(71) Philo W. Drury, "The Occupancy of Santo Domingo by Evangelical Forces," October 18, 1918, United Brethren Foreign Missions Records, Santo Domingo series, General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church.
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Title Annotation:African Methodist Episcopal Church
Author:Davidson, Christina Cecelia
Publication:New West Indian Guide
Geographic Code:5DOMN
Date:Dec 22, 2015
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