Women's Heritage Trail
— Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church —
Florence Spearing Randolph, born in Charleston, South Carolina on August 9, 1866 was an African-American A.M.E. Zion (Methodist) minister and social activist. She served as Pastor of Wallace Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Summit City, from 1925 to 1946. As the congregation grew, she organized the fundraising effort for the construction of a permanent spiritual home. In 1935, ground was broken for this red brick Colonial Revival church still in use today. Prior to its construction, the congregation met in the living and dining room of the duplex house next door, which now serves as the parsonage and community house.
Rev. Dr. Randolph also took part in church activities on a state and national level, was active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Movement, and served on the board of the New Jersey Suffrage Association. She organized the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs in 1915 and contributed to its success—-by 1917, there were 85 clubs with a combined membership of 2,616. In 1911, she founded the Supply Department of the Women's Home & Foreign Missionary Society of the Supply Department. In 1916, she began a four year tem as General President of the W.H. & F.M. Society of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
In 1920, she embarked on an extensive tour of the Republic of Liberia and British West Africa (now Ghana) at her own expense. She brought a young African girl back to the states to pursue her education here. This girl graduated with honors from Summit High School and Hampton University and went back to teach in Angola, West Africa. After 21 years as Pastor of Wallace Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, she retired from the active pastorate in 1946 and moved to Montclair to live with her daughter and grandson. She died in 1951 at the age of 85.
"We then as African-Americans should forget our color and only remember that life is a great state of action and we too must play our part. Success is gained only by perseverance, and since each of us is assigned a work, let us go about it diligently..." -an excerpt from a sermon on "Hope" by Rev. Dr. Randolph, 1945, from the book, Daughters of Thunder by Bettye Collier-Thomas.
(Inscription in the boxes on the right) (Top box) Wallace Chapel A.M. E. Zion Church is on the New Jersey Women's Heritage Trail because of the spirit and dedication of Rev. Florence Spearing Randolph.
(Bottom box) The New Jersey Women's Heritage Trail highlights a collection of historic sites located around the state that represent the significant contributions women made to the history of our state. The Heritage Trail brings to life the vital role of women in New Jersey's past and present.