Richard Allen, the founder of the AME Church and it’s first bishop, will be featured as the next issue in the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage Commemorative Series.
Allen, along with the Reverend Absalom Jones, helped found the Free African Society, a non-denominational religious mutual-aid society dedicated to helping the black community
The stamp will be unveiled Feb. 2 at Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia.
It is the 39th stamp in the Black Heritage stamp series, which began in 1978 with Harriet Tubman. Other include Martin Luther King, Jr., Paul Robeson and Shirley Chisholm.
Allen became the nation’s first black Methodist Episcopal minister when he was ordained by a longtime supporter, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury, in 1799. However, the new Philadelphia church Allen founded continued to face challenges from white church leaders.
In 1816, Allen called for a meeting of other black church leaders, who gathered together to establish the independent African Methodist Episcopal Church. Allen was named the first bishop.
The Sixth Episcopal district led by the Right Rev. Preston W. Williams, II will lead the delegation from Georgia next week for the unveiling of the Allen stamp.
“We give God the praise for the ministry of Bishop Richard Allen which has impacted the entire world,” Williams said in a statement. ” This a great honor for someone who is very deserving. When he launched the AME connection, it is unlikely he would have envisioned how it has grown until this day. ”
The church became a stop in the Underground Railroad for slaves seeking freedom in the North.
Allen died March 26, 1831. He and his wife, Sarah, are both buried in a tomb beneath the church.