Richard Allen was born to a slave in Philadelphia, February 14, 1760. The family was later sold to Stokely Sturgis who lived near Dover, Delaware. Sturgis allowed the family to join the Methodist Society in Philadelphia. Allen taught himself to read and write and began to preach at age 22. Sturgis heard his first sermon "Thou Are Weighed in the Balance and Found Wanting" and came to believe that slavery was morally wrong, so he offered a plan for his slaves to work to buy their freedom. Allen purchased his freedom in 1780.
In 1786, Allen moved back to Philadelphia, which was a center for freed blacks. He was the first ordained person of color in the Methodist Episcopal Church, which had begun dividing over the issue of slavery. He was a… Go to person page >