Six months after the news of the Emancipation reached Texas in 1865, the Louisiana-Texas-Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church for African Americans, known as the Mississippi Conference, was organized on Christmas Day. In 1868, its mission at Orange began to host worship services. Baptist Minister Arthur Robinson led the mission and was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Hardin, a circuit rider from Galveston, the following year.The name Salem Methodist Episcopal Church was formally adopted when the mission became a full church in 1873. Church trustees acquired property and constructed a small frame building in 1877. For several years beginning in 1883, students of the African American school at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church attended classes in the Salem church building. As the congregation grew, trustees acquired additional land, and by 1923 brick was added to a second frame building. The sixteenth session of the Texas annual conference was held at Salem Methodist Episcopal Church in 1925.The church grew steadily throughout the 20th century and maintained an active role in the daily lives of the African American citizens of Orange. During the World War II population increase, elementary school classes were held in the Salem church building. Members of the church have been community and state leaders, including
political and civil activists, ministers, educators a Vice President of the Texas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the first black and female mayor of the city of Orange. The Salem United Methodist Church continues in the traditions of its founders with programs of service and worship.