Celebration Kicks Off 200th Anniversary Of African Methodist Episcopal Church

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mother Bethel kicked off a year long celebration of 200th anniversary of the AME Church Tuesday, with the unveiling of the Richard Allen postal stamp.

It was a celebration of the life and legacy of Bishop Richard Allen, a slave who bought his freedom, rose to found the African American Episcopal Church, rally Black soldiers during the War of 1812 and now to grace a U.S. postal stamp.

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“It is amazing to me all the things he did,” said Richard Lawrence, an eighth generation descendant of Allen.

“Hopefully he’s a model for people to aspire to, maybe somebody will go further, do more than he can do,” said Lawrence.

Mayor Jim Kenney was on hand along with prominent AME leaders like Vernon Jordan and Louis Skip Gates and spoke about the need to honor more people like Allen.


(credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

(credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

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“It’s unfair to deny people like Allen and now we are starting to acknowledge that — it’s a longtime coming, but it’s fitting,” said Kenney.

Later this year, the AME Church will unveil a Richard Allen mural and a statue at 6th and Lombard where it all began.

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