Peter Williams, Sr.
Birthplace: New York, New York
Although he was a slave, Williams became a sexton in the Methodist Church in 1778. When his owner returned to England in 1783, the church trustees purchased Williams. Upset that churches were segregated, Williams helped establish the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, chartered in 1801. The first black church in New York, it is the forerunner of the denomination of that name today.Died: 1823