African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Methodist denomination. It was founded in 1796 by black members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City and was organized as a national body in 1821. The church operates in the United States, Africa, South America, and the West Indies and maintains Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. The U.S. membership of the church in 1998 was about 1.2 million, making it one of the largest African Methodist bodies.
See D. H. Bradley, A History of the A.M.E. Zion Church (2 vol., 1956–70).