Freedomas Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers (Paperback)

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Gold Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Biography Category

Brings to life the inspiring story of one of America's Black Founding Fathers, featured in the forthcoming documentary The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song

Freedom's Prophet is a long-overdue biography of Richard Allen, founder of the first major African American church and the leading black activist of the early American republic. A tireless minister, abolitionist, and reformer, Allen inaugurated some of the most important institutions in African American history and influenced nearly every black leader of the nineteenth century, from Douglass to Du Bois.

Born a slave in colonial Philadelphia, Allen secured his freedom during the American Revolution, and became one of the nation's leading black activists before the Civil War. Among his many achievements, Allen helped form the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, co-authored the first copyrighted pamphlet by an African American writer, published the first African American eulogy of George Washington, and convened the first national convention of Black reformers. In a time when most Black men and women were categorized as slave property, Allen was championed as a Black hero.

In this thoroughly engaging and beautifully written book, Newman describes Allen's continually evolving life and thought, setting both in the context of his times. From Allen's early antislavery struggles and belief in interracial harmony to his later reflections on Black democracy and Black emigration, Newman traces Allen's impact on American reform and reformers, on racial attitudes during the years of the early republic, and on the Black struggle for justice in the age of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. Whether serving as Americas first Black bishop, challenging slave-holding statesmen in a nation devoted to liberty, or visiting the President's House (the first Black activist to do so), this important book makes it clear that Allen belongs in the pantheon of Americas great founding figures. Freedom's Prophet reintroduces Allen to today's readers and restores him to his rightful place in our nation's history.

About the Author


Richard Newman is Professor of History at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. He is the author of The Transformation of American Abolitionism: Fighting Slavery in the Early Republic and co-editor of the series, Race in the Atlantic World, 1700-1900.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780814758571
ISBN-10: 0814758576
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2009
Pages: 359
Language: English