|American Missionary Association
|The American Missionary Association
The Association had its roots deep into the abolitionist movement. The Association started as a
group of churches joined in New England to help the Africans who overcame their captors in the
Amistad incident. The incident was about a slave ship where the Africans took charge and tried to
sail back to Africa but ended up in the United States. The Africans were turned over to be tried
and hung, but the Association defended them. They were found innocent and allowed to return to
The Association was an interdenominational society in the beginning but gradually it became a
Congregational missionary board. The Board for Homeland Ministries of the United Church of
Christ is the direct descendant of the American Missionary Association. The AMA was formed
September 3, 1846. It was the result of a growing dissatisfaction with the comparative silence of
the older missionary societies in regard to slavery and was a protest against it.
The American Missionary Association was the combination of four separate missionary groups.
The Amistad Committee was formed August 26, 1839. The Union Missionary Society to
discountenance slavery and the fruits of slave labor (see bill announcing formation). The
Committee for West India Missions Jamaica (1837) and The Western Evangelical Missionary
Society formed in 1843.
In the American Missionary of March 1865 the American Missionary Association defined its
mission to the freedmen:
The work to be done for the Freedmen is threefold:
1. To promote their physical comfort.
2. To promote their intellectual improvement.
3. To promote their spiritual welfare.
The records for the American Missionary Association are stored at Tulaine University in New
Orleans in the Amistad Center.
The Constitution of the American Missionary Association (extracted)
Article II - The object of this Association shall be to conduct Christian missionary and educational
operations, and diffuse a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures in our own and other countries which
are destitute of them, or which present open and urgent fields of effort.
Article III. Any person of evangelical sentiments who professes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who
is not a slaveholder, or in the practice of other immoralities, and who contributes to the funds, may
become a member of the Society; and by the payment of thirty dollars, a life member; provided
that children and others who have not professed their faith may be constituted life members
without the privilege of voting.
Throughout the 19th century the AMA founded schools, universities, hospitals, churches
throughout the south, Hawaii, Chinese-Americans with Native Americans and around the world.
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