A Moment In History 2016


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"A People without knowledge of their Past History, origin and culture is like a Tree without Roots...."  Marcus Garvey


Religion and Leadership

Remembering, Richard Allen and the Founding of the AME Church

Richard Allen was one of the greatest Black religious leaders in American history. His leadership and organizational skills were phenomenal. Richard Allen, February 14, 1760 to March 26, 1831, was a minister, educator, and writer, and the founder in 1816 of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, AME, the first independent black denomination in the United States. He opened his first AME church in 1794 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He was elected the First Bishop of the AME Church in 1816.  The AME church is the oldest denomination among independent African-American churches.

Born into slavery, Allen as a young man worked to buy his freedom from his master in Delaware.  He went to Philadelphia in 1786, licensed as a Methodist preacher.  He belonged for a time to St. George's Methodist Church, but he and his supporters resented its segregation and decided to leave the church.  In 1787 he and Absalom Jones founded the Free African Society (FAS), a non-denominational, mutual aid society for blacks in Philadelphia, which particularly helped widows and children.  Eventually they each founded independent black congregations in 1794.