The Bethany Mission for Colored People was founded in the mid-1850s and, beginning in 1869, was located at Brandywine Street near 16th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to its constitution, the Mission was to be non-denominational with the objective of "moral and religious education and general elevation of the Colored people by means of a Mission Sabbath School." The Sunday School welcomed students of all ages, from young children to the elderly. Attendance at the Mission peaked in the 1870s with enrollment close to 500 pupils. The Mission began a slow decline starting in the 1880s which continued until its close in the 1930s, due to the rise of Black churches and increased public education for African Americans.