The first African American congregation and first African American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Dayton trace their roots back to the early 1830s. They were organized by Father Thomas Willis and a small group of faithful men and women. After several moves, the congregation settled on Eaker Street and the church was dedicated in the early 1870s. The church was rededicated in 1882 and renamed Wayman Chapel AME Church. The eminent poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and his mother Matilda attended and worshiped at the Eaker Street church. His untimely death in 1906 brought family and friends to his funeral services held at the church. By 1923 church leadership felt the need for more secure space for the growing congregation and moved to a new building at Fifth and Banks streets. Three elegant chandeliers for the sanctuary were donated by the city's newspaper, the Dayton Daily News.(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
The Great Depression years were financially difficult for the church, but in 1937 Reverend P.A. Nichols and church officers and members launched a program to free the church of debt. By 1940, under the guidance of Reverend Thomas Chryer, the debt had been reduced from $113,000 to $12,000 and under the pastorate of Reverend Granville Reed Jr, the mortgage was burned in 1944. Reverend Wallace M. Wright became pastor in 1949 and following his death, Reverend Carlton N. Flanigan became the pastor. His first major undertaking was to relocate the church to Hoover Avenue due to construction of a new interstate highway system in Dayton. Other Wayman pastors include Bishops Rembert Stokes and W. Deveaux and Reverends Dr. Wilbur M. Lowe Jr. and Frederick A. Wright Sr. Pastor Dr. Ronald L. Glenn strengthened the church for the twenty-first century and beyond.