American Church Institute

American Church Institute For Negroes Pamphlet

American Church Institute for Negroes pamphlet, c. 1950.

The American Church Institute for Negroes, begun in 1906 and renamed as the American Church Institute in 1961, was the institutional Church’s response to the alarming disparity between educational opportunities for African Americans and privileged whites within the church. Its predecessor, established in 1865 by the General Convention, was the Protestant Episcopal Freedman’s Commission (renamed the Commission of Home Missions to Colored People in 1868), which functioned under the auspices of the central Board of Missions. Charged with the mandate to regain a foothold in the African American community after a decline in membership following the Civil War, the Commission focused on founding schools in the South to provide higher education and religious instruction to African Americans.

In 1878 the Board of Missions dissolved the Commission, believing that the results gained in its fourteen years of operation were too small to justify continued funding. Despite this dissolution, investigation of the needs of African Americans within the Church carried on, and in 1906 the American Church Institute for Negroes (ACIN) was established to coordinate the Church-affiliated schools and refocus attention on the educational needs of men and women of color. The organization’s strategy was to train African Americans to be successful skilled tradesmen, businessmen, teachers, and clergy (and in the case of women, homemakers as well) who would return to their communities and spread the benefits of education to others. [Sources]