The history of the Bethel AME Church Tallahassee, Florida, mirrors that of its parent body, the African Methodist Episcopal Church that was originally organized as the Free African Society in 1787. This was following a walk out by black Christians from the segregated St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, led by Richard Allen. In 1816, this group was chartered as the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Similarly, in 1865, a group of Black Christians in Tallahassee walked out of the Methodist Church, South. Led by the Reverend Robert Meacham, a former slave preacher, these courageous freedmen began their worship in a rough lean-to of leafy sapling called a brush arbor, located at the corner of Duval and Virginia Streets. Subsequently organized as Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church by Presiding Elder Charles H. Pearce, the history of Bethel is intrinsically connected with the history of the Florida Conference. Bethel, already in existence when the AME Church came to Florida, served as the site of the first two Annual Conferences held in Florida by the AME Church on June 8, 1867 and March 4, 1868.