February, 2018

February each year is designated as Black History Month.  I have really appreciated some of the local history of African-Americans who have had an impact on the local area - stories we probably would never have heard of if it were not for Black History Month.  However, Black History Month on a national scale, for most intents and purposes, does not go back before 1960 and the Civil Rights Movement.  There is a reason for that; but I will not go into that at this time.

I do want to tell you about Richard Allen (1760 - 1831).  Richard Allen was a slave on a plantation in Delaware.  A Methodist evangelist came through the area, and Allen was saved, and radically changed.  He talked about Jesus to everyone he met on the plantation and every time he met them, slaves and non-slaves.  It wasn't long until his owner came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit because of Allen't witness and gave his heart to the Lord.  Now, a new creature in Christ Jesus, he felt he could not continue to own slaves.  So, he set them free.  Most of them elected to stay on the plantation and work for pay.  However, Allen walked north to Philadelphia, which at that time was the third largest city in the country, with a population of about 40,000.

In Philadelphia, Allen continued to talk about Jesus to everyone he met.  He preached Christ on the street corners, and soon had a small congregation from which grew a large church.  Before the end of the century, Allen's church had a weekly attendance of over 2,000 people, out of a population of 40,000 - the largest church in Philadelphia.  And, oh, did I tell you that there was not one African-American in the entire congregation?  They were all white!

Allen fought in the Revolutionary War, leading the men of his church into battle (as did many pastors of that time).  He also teamed up with another black man, Absalom Jones, the first black bishop of the Episcopal Church (a white denomination), to form the first black deno-mination - the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1793 there was a Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia.  People were dying at the rate of 120 per day, and no one knew what caused Yellow Fever.  There were 70 doctors in Philadelphia at the time, and all 70 fled the city in fear of their own lives.  Allen's dear friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, a physician, a delegate to the Continental Congress, founder of Dickinson College, Surgeon General of the Continental Army, and later professor of chemistry, medical theory and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania, teamed up with Allen and his wife to treat the sick from morning till night - one white and two blacks.  Remember, this was almost 70 years before the Civil War.

Richare Allen used to be a part of American History; but he was deleted along the way.  You will still find his name if you dig deep enough.  However, he will only be listed as founder of the Methodist Episcopal Denomination.  There will be no mention of his Revolutionary War service, nor of the white church he pastored before forming the blak denoination late in his life.  Why?  Because "the rest of the story" does not fit the agenda of the historical revisionists.

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