African-American Methodist Episcopal Church

Information provided by Jerry Moore; Submitted by Jack W. James
From "The History of the Mansfield School District Area", October 1994

Arnett Chapel AME Church was established around 1894, in Huntington, Arkansas with the Reverend Amos as pastor.

At one time Arnett Chapel had a membership between eighty to one hundred people. But as the coal mines began to close and coal production declined, many of the miners with their families moved to other areas of the country in search of a living. So, therefore, the membership of this church and others in South Sebastian County declined.

This church played a vital role in the spiritual development of many blacks that have lived in Huntington. This church, named after Bishop Arnett of the Methodist Church, was sometimes used both as a school and a church, until a school building was built for the black students of Huntington. Like all early communities around America, the church was not only the center of religious life, but the center for social events, and a meeting hall for blacks.

This building of a wood frame structure with one large room and two small ones erected in 1894, was shortly moved a few yards down the hill from its original building site to its present site. Through contributions and hard work by its members, the church has gone through a major remodeling project that has been ongoing since the 1960s. The interior has been redone to include painting and sheetrock, carpet, new pews, new windows and a restroom.

This church has developed a number of dedicated black leaders in all areas of this state and nation. Heading this list is the late Huntington Mayor, the Honorable Curtis G. Feimster, Sr.

Arnett Chapel has been served by fourteen pastors in these one hundred years. Some of the ministers that have been appointed to Arnett chapel were: Reverend Amos, Reverend Pettus, Reverend Gray, Reverend Harris, Reverend Ingram, Reverend Jefferson, Reverend James Adams, Reverend Benton, Reverend Cheault, Reverend George West, Reverend G. Edward West, Reverend McKinney, Reverend J. H. Perry, serving for twenty years, and Reverend Elmer Adams (the son of Reverend James Adams).

It was the last Black Church still open in South Sebastian County.