This chapter focuses on several prominent black religious institutions in Illinois, including Quinn Chapel. The establishment of Negro churches in Illinois dates from the late 1830s, with the formation of religious bodies in Brooklyn, near East St. Louis, and Jacksonville. Quinn Chapel in Brooklyn is generally credited as the initial institution (as also the first west of the Alleghenies), although there is evidence that in 1837 two Baptist clerics had organized a church at Jacksonville. In Chicago, Quinn Chapel, a branch of the African Methodist order, was the first Negro congregation. While there was no formal black church organization in Illinois until the late thirties, there had been religious practice of one sort and another among the Negroes. This chapter looks at the rise of various Negro churches in Illinois and how religion became the leading force and attraction in the life of the race in the state.
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