Read the information below and learn more about the man, the church and its important contribution to American History.
The information below comes from the Connectional AME Church website,
(Philadelphia) AMEs will be present, but so will people from all walks of life, and faith groups. The United States Postal Service has selected Richard Allen for its 2016 Black Heritage stamp. The news of this selection was not just received warmly but with great jubilation as an answer to prayer and the “right” culmination of a global campaign.
Oral history has noted that an earlier attempt was made to have a Richard Allen stamp designated near the 100th anniversary of the AME Church.
A prototypical photo was drawn and circulated. lt was reportedly stated that while the founding of the AME Church was noteworthy, the firewall between government and religion would make it ill-advisable to honor that request. In about 2002, as Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson was lamenting about some of the things he has wanted to do prior to retirement in 2004, he mentioned to Richard Allen postal stamp to Sis “Jackie” Dupont-Walker. She learned more about an earlier effort to garner a stamp to honor our founder from Bishop Frederick Hilborn Talbot. By conducting a little research and and connecting with the pastor of Mother Bethel at that time (Rev. Jeffrey Leath), a little inquiry was made and we discovered a ram in the bush. One of the members of Mother Bethel was on the USPS Postal Commission. With her intercession our outreach began.
We asked for that honor. It was decided that more about the life and labors of this patriot, advisor to US Presidents, humanitarian, and churchman must be presented as evidence of Allen’s worthiness.
In 2004, Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry became the chair of the AME Social Action Commission and Sis Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker was elected by the General Board to serve as the Director of the AME Social Action Commission. Another inquiry was made, and the request was put in the pipeline. AMEs became restless so we enlisted support from others who knew the Richard Allen story. What next? The AME Council of Bishops gave its full support to the Social Action Commission to “make it happen”. Well, a petition drive was initiated and with the help of a loyal following of AMEs, members of the AME Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, United Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Moravian, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, International Council of Community Churches, Divine 9 Greek organizations, Masons, Elks, media, press, local neighborhood groups, family, and friends, 40,000 signatures were validated among thousands of petition signers.
Then we waited and prayed and in the meantime, a new AME Social Action chair assigned Bishop Reginald T. Jackson. We continued to wait and pray for an answer. AMEs in any position of influence or knowledge were contacted, engaged as much as possible, and the standard greeting became – “Have you heard anything yet?”
You may remember that the USPS was threatened with its own demise and turned its attention into survival mode for approximately 2 years. Commemorative stamps could not be printed if there was no post office. We joined in that battle, with somewhat of a self-serving interest (smile).
Tension built as the anniversary of the Yellow Fever Epidemic came in 2013, and “no word”. Then we turned up the heat. 2016 is the year. Well, as we know too well, that was a revelation and when we learned that Richard Allen had been selected as the 2016 Black Heritage stamp honoree, nothing could have prepared us for the relief, gratitude and sheer joy of finally saying… We heard something!
Tomorrow, in addition to the program participants already mentioned, Bishops Carolyn Tyler Guidry and Jeffry N. Leath are participants on the program. Richard Lawrence, a descendentof Richard Allen will be speaking for the family and other family members will be present. Finally, the sojourner of this journey, Sis “Jackie” Dupont-Walker will be shouting “thank yous” with jubilation. Representatives from the AME leadership, ecumenical and interfaith leadership, and many who signed the petitions and lifted this effort in prayer will be present.
See you tomorrow in person, online, or via live streaming. Tomorrow stage your own local post office “walk in” and buy stamps. After tomorrow, order on www,USPS.com, schedule a ceremony with your local postal service, and keep the celebration going.
We want to have the earliest sell-out of any commemorative stamp in US Postal history – Do we see a second printing before the end of February?
“With God, and together, it shall be done”!!
The History of Richard Allen
Richard Allen was born a slave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 14, 1760, and was one of the first African Americans to be emancipated during the Revolutionary era. In 1789, he was ordained the first African American deacon of the Methodist church. Racial inequality forced Richard Allen and other Black Methodists to leave St. George’s Methodist Church (the first and oldest Methodist Church in the United States) to organize the Free African Society whose main goal was to provide aid to newly freed Blacks so they could gather strength and develop leaders in the community. In July of 1794, Allen formed Bethel Methodist Church.
In 1816, Rev. Richard Allen and the members of the newly formed Bethel Church won legal recognition as an independent church. In the same year Allen and representatives from four other black Methodist congregations (in Baltimore; Wilmington, Delaware; Salem, New Jersey; and Attleboro, Pennsylvania) met at the Bethel Church to organize a new denomination– the African Methodist Episcopal Church—where he was consecrated as the first Bishop.
During his mid-life, Bishop Richard Allen is known for being one of the first African American humanitarians to respond to the Yellow Fever Epidemic by helping the sick in 1793, founding a day school for African American children in 1795, and founding the “Society of Free People of Colour for Promoting the Instruction and School Education of Children of African Descent” in 1804.
Over 40,000 people of good will petitioned the United States Postal Service to create a stamp honoring Bishop Richard Allen, a true American whose life and legacy has impacted millions throughout the world. As one of American’s strongest early advocates for racial equality, Bishop Richard Allen’s extraordinary life shows a man deeply devoted to his religion, his community, and his desire to expand the rights of African Americans. Please join in the celebration of the life and works of Richard Allen, as symbolized by a “forever” stamp of the United States Postal Service.