IJC chair, Judge William H. Hooks, was the guest speaker for the Coppin Memorial A.M.E. Church Men’s Day program. Judge Sydney Jones (Ret.) and the Coppin Men’s Ministry extended the invitation to Judge Hooks. The theme for the event was “Black Christian Men Taking Care of Business in Spirit, Truth and Faith”
Judge Hooks reminded the congregation of the commitment, bravery and perseverance of Richard Allen, a former Delaware slave and founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Officials of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which had allowed blacks to attend worship services, began pulling blacks off of their knees while praying at the alter in order to enforce racial segregation rules. Richard Allen led a group to form their own church.
Although many wanted to join other denominations, Allen insisted that they remain Methodists. Bethel AME Church was formed and dedicated in 1794 with Allen as its pastor. In order to maintain independence from the Methodists, Allen sued the Methodists in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807, an undertaking almost unheard of by former slaves. In 1815, Allen won the right of his new congregation to exist as an independent institution. Allen later convinced other black Methodists in the United States to join him and officially formed a new Wesleyan denomination – – the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
The Men’s Day program was attended by several Illinois Judicial Council and Cook County Bar Association members.