Coppin, Levi Jenkins

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Coppin, Levi Jenkins

December 24, 1848
June 25, 1924

A native of Fredrickstown, Maryland, Levi Jenkins Coppin spent his childhood in Baltimore and in Wilmington, Delaware. It took Coppin only a short time to rise in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church after receiving his license to preach in 1876. Twelve years later the denomination chose him as editor of its major publication, the AME Church Review, a post he held until 1888, when he ran unsuccessfully for the bishopric. He then returned to Philadelphia, where he had previously resided, to serve as pastor of the historic Bethel Church.

Coppin became a bishop in the AME Church in 1900. From 1990 to 1904 he served in South Africa, where he worked to spread the influence of the denomination in that area and in Ethiopia. Coppin, a devoted Mason, also established the Masonic Lodge of Capetown, which had an affiliation with the Philadelphia Jurisdiction of the Prince Hall Masons. After his return to the United States, he served most of his remaining years in the South.

Coppin was a moderately conservative theologian on the issue of race. Although he counseled patience, hard work, and thrift, he did hold membership in social protest groups such as the Afro-American Council and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Coppin is remembered best for the influence he had upon the church as editor of the Review and for his work in Africa.

See also African Methodist Episcopal Church


Coppin, Levi Jenkins. Observations of Persons and Things in South Africa, 19001904. Part second, chap. 11letters. Philadelphia: A.M.E. Book Concern, 1905.

Wright, Richard R. The Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Nashville: A.M.E. Sunday School Union, 1963.

jimmie lewis franklin(1996)
Updated bibliography