Museum Chat Live! E401 – The B.M.E. Church

On this episode of Museum Chat Live!, we dig into the history of the B.M.E. Church in St. Catharines and the role Salem Chapel has played in our community. The B.M.E. Church has been a vital centre for the Black community here in St. Catharines since the mid-nineteenth century and it continues to play a role today, both as a religious congregation and as a place of learning.

Salem Chapel was officially dedicated in 1855. It is now a National Historic Site. The B.M.E. Church is pictured here in 1937. STCM S1937.21.2.2.

To help tell this story, we sit down with Rochelle Bush, an active member of the B.M.E. Church and a voice of Black History in St. Catharines. Rochelle sheds light into the complexity of Black History in our City and the role the B.M.E Church played in the Underground Railroad and beyond.


The St. Catharines Orioles was the first all-Black hockey team in Ontario. Here, the team pose in front of the B.M.E. Church in 1937. All players were from the church. STCM S1937.32.3.2.

Thank you to Rochelle Bush for taking the time to interview for this podcast episode.

To learn more about Salem Chapel and schedule a guided tour, visit their website.

Sara Nixon is a public historian and Public Programmer at the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.


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