The Reverend Richard Allen

16 Feb
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William Nell

William Nell

America’s heritage during the colonization and the founding of this country are filled with heroes, both black and white. In fact, today many of the black patriots and heroes of that era are unknown. Yet every schoolchild in early America read Williams Nell’s Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812 written in 1852. Three years later, he authored The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution. William Nell was an award winning Black scholar who studied law in 1830s in Boston and became the first Black American to hold a post in Federal government.

The story of the Reverend Richard Allen is just one of those 1000 plus Black American heroes and patriots.

While a slave, Richard Allen heard a Methodist evangelical preacher and soon became a zealous follower of Jesus Christ. He was still a slave when he became an ordained minister and began preaching on the plantation and in the area churches. He did convert his master and all others living on the plantation. His master’s open eyes realized he was not without sin and that the slave/master relation was a sin and he immediately set Ricard Allen and all his other slaves free.


Rev Richard Allen

Rev Richard Allen moved to Philadelphia and began preaching in a church with 2,000 members, which incidentally, was an all-white church. He also preached in other white churches in the city.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Rev Richard Allen enlisted as a soldier, as most ministers at the time did along with many members of the congregation. He meets Dr Benjamin Rush the surgeon general of the Continental Army and signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Together they both established the AME Church in Philadelphia, the first Black denomination church in Philadelphia.

On a side note, both Dr Rush and Benjamin Franklin established the first anti-slave society in American before the Revolution but was ordered to shut down by King George. The king declared since they were a British colony and slavery was the norms under British law they will have always have slavery. Few years later, the Declaration of Independence was signed and most of the Northern states began releasing slaves and declaring those freemen.


Benjamin Franklin 01

Dr Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Rush

Dr Benjamin Rush

Absalom Jones, from slavery to the first black American priest in the Episcopal Church

In 1793, a deadly Yellow Fever epidemic hit Philadelphia with approximately 120 deaths daily. All the doctors vacated the city except for Dr Benjamin Rush. Bur he did have help. Rev Richard Allen and the Rev Absalom Jones, the first Black Bishop of the AME church stayed behind and helped Dr Rush during the deadly epidemic without fear of their own safety. All three were dedicated as followers of Jesus to serve, even if their lives were in danger.


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