The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST For Thursday, August 20, 2015. (Interview With Bethel AME Church On Is The Church In Peril Starts At 54:28 Mark On PODCAST Media Player). Is Indiana’s Oldest Black Church is danger; in peril? Bethel AME Church is the oldest African-American church in the city. Nearly as old as the city itself., the church was formed in 1836; 20 years after Indiana became a state and 16 years after Indianapolis became a city. The church was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The current Bethel AME Church Building at 414 West Vermont Street was built in 1869. Unfortunately declining and aging membership and a mortgage entered into several years ago to help renovate the church has caused the church to be under financial pressure because of that mortgage.
There’s fear by church members and community supporters that the church could be pressured into selling to developers as the church sits on one of the last undeveloped commercial areas on the west side of Downtown Indianapolis. Bethel AME Member Olivia Lockhart and community supporter Andrea Copeland appeared on Afternoons with Amos to talk about the church’s history and its plight.
In the frank interview with Amos, it was learned that the church is a historic site and developers if they used federal or state dollars would be prohibited from damaging or tearing down the building. It was also learned the church has their mortgage with Chase Bank. But it was also revealed that top church officials and officials of the national and state AME Church hadn’t had conversations with top Chase Bank officials. All agree that Bethel AME Church is as much an Indianapolis landmark as Monument Circle and the Speedway and deserves to be protected and saved. The question becomes how. The Afternoons with Amos interview about Bethel AME Church’s peril is a wakeup call for the entire Indianapolis community. (Interview With Reps Donna Harris & Cherrish Pryor On BodyCams Starts At 3:30 Mark On PODCAST Media Player). It’s a MAJOR conversation in cities and counties across the country. Should police departments and other law enforcement agencies use cameras in the dashboards of police cars and cameras worn on the chests of police officers to better document confrontations with residents and increase transparency and reduce tensions between police and community? Here in Indiana many law enforcement agencies do NOT employ dashcams and bodycams for their police and sheriffs. Two African-American Indiana state legislators disagree.
State Representatives Donna Harris and Cherrish Pryor appeared on Afternoons with Amos in a wide ranging discussion of that issue. A legislative study committee on Government will be discussing this issue in a public hearing this coming Wednesday, August 26th at 10am at the State House in Room 431. In the interview Reps. Harris and Pryor talked with Amos and listeners about the issue which both legislators feel is critical one for Indiana to discuss and deal with. Complicating matters are the tight budgets for Indiana cities and counties because of property tax caps. And reluctance of small town and rural legislators, nearly all Republican, to be supportive of the measure. The two Black legislators also discussed the highway crisis especially the emergency closing of an I-65 bridge in Tippecanoe County that’s snarled traffic on one of Indiana’s most critical interstate highways. The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST For Thursday, August 20, 2015 Runs 94 Minutes. ©2015 WTLC/Radio One. PODCAST Starts After Brief Video Ad.