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Sun, 12.24.1848

Levi Jenkins Coppin

Levi Coppin

*Levi Jenkins Coppin was born on this date in 1848.   He was a Black minister and editor.

From Fredericktown, Maryland, he was the son of John Coppin and Jane Lily. His mother, a free Black woman taught him to read and write, which was illegal at the time.  After the American Civil War, his mother became the first teacher at a school for Black children in Fredericktown; Levi Coppin taught there too.  At age 17, he began to study scriptures and became motivated to seek higher education.  

He moved to Wilmington, DE where he first voted at twenty, joined Bethel AME church and married Martha Grinnage; a schoolteacher.  Their only child died nine months after birth and Grinnage died eighteen days later.  After moving to Philadelphia, Coppin became a minister at Bethel AME church in 1877.  By 1879, he was placed in charge of the cities Mission; a circuit of smaller missions operated by the AME church.  In 1881, he was transferred to become pastor of the Baltimore Bethel AME Church.

By the turn of the century, Coppin served in Delaware and for eight years he edited the AME Church Review.  In 1900 he was elected as an AME Bishop and in 1902 he and his second wife Fanny Jackson went to Africa to do mission work.  Upon returning to America he served as a bishop in South Carolina and Alabama.  Coppin was married three times; his third wife was physician Mellissa E. Thompson.  Levi Coppin died on June 25, 1924 in Philadelphia, PA.

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