Built in 1848, the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church was a terminus of the Underground Railroad, built by hand to serve Amherstburg’s growing Black community. Many people fleeing slavery and oppressed Blacks first felt true freedom within her walls.
It is named after Bishop Nazery, who led many congregations, including this one, from the American-based AME Church Conference into the new Canadian-based British Methodist Episcopal Church. The denomination flourished until the late 19th century when many dwindling congregations consolidated and reunited with the AME Church.
After crossing the Detroit River to Amherstburg, which is one of the narrowest Detroit River points of entry, these individuals became people in a nation, where they were recognized and respected, some perhaps for the first time, as human beings.
Upon arrival in Amherstburg they found that Nazrey played a significant role in their new lives, offing itself as an interim resting place until permanent housing could be found. The church also served as a school to educate those who had been denied that privilege, and social centre where numerous everyday skills would be taught.
This evocative stone chapel speaks to the faith of the Underground Railroad refugees and to their commitment to build lives as free Canadians. The Nazrey A.M.E. Church is now a treasured National Historic site.