Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers
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"Freedom's Prophet is more than a fine biography of Richard Allen. . . . It tells the dramatic story of the role of the black church and its leaders in the African American struggle in Philadelphia and other northern communities against southern slavery and for a place of equality in America during the early decades of nationhood. This compelling study joins the first ranks of the recent work that has profoundly expanded our understanding of the formation of African American community and identity in pre-Civil War America."
"A rich, imaginative, and probably definitive portrait of Richard Allen. . . . Newman makes a convincing case that Allen deserves the iconic status of 'Founding Father' as much as Washington or Jefferson. Highly recommended."
"Newman offers an incredibly detailed and astute look at Allen both in the context of religion and in the broader context of American History and philosophy on equality. . . . Newman portrays a man driven by a moral and philosophical impulse for racial justice, evolving as he faced personal, religious, and leadership challenges, as well as the broader national challenge of living up to a creed of equality at a time when the Founding Fathers fell short of those ideals."
"This is an exuberantly written book that shows how much more we can learn about some eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century black figures."
-American Historical Review
"Few Americans know the extraordinary story of Richard Allen, who rose from slavery in colonial America to become a prosperous entrepreneur and inspirational preacher in the early republic. In this bold biography, Newman rescues Allen from obscurity to achieve a larger goal: to recognize African Americans as active makers of the American republic. The book's title is provocative, since few people think of blacks as 'founding fathers, ' but instead as passive victims in an era dominated by their owners: Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Hamilton. 'Above all else, ' Newman explains, 'this book poses a simple question: what happens if we put Richard Allen into the hallowed American founding generation?' The question turns out to have many consequences, for including blacks offers a fuller and truer picture of our origins as a nation--and of our potential as a republic."
-The New Republic
"Newman sees Richard Allen as a black founding father, engaged in developing a nation within a nation, joining blacks to one another in separate institutions within the new republic. It has been a continuing challenge in which charismatic preachers have had a central role."
-The New York Review of Books