“A” is for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The African Methodist Episcopal Church [A.M.E.] is the oldest African American denomination in the country. In 1817, the efforts of white Methodists in Charleston to control the activities of black church members led to the mass exodus of 4,367 black Methodists from the church. The following year, these black Methodists organized themselves into an A.M.E. congregation—the second-largest in the denomination and its southernmost branch. Following the Denmark Vesey conspiracy, the church was demolished and its membership dispersed. In 1863, the denomination returned to South Carolina and became a major presence in the state. Church leaders used their offices to articulate community grievances and to protest against lynching and racial discrimination. Today the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina uses its resources to address a wide range of social issues and problems including health-care disparities and affordable housing.