Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Philadelphia, Pa.)
African Methodist Episcopal Church (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Free African Society (Philadelphia, Pa.)
St. George's United Methodist Church (Philadelphia, Pa.)
AV000961 1 open reel 1 inch video recording
AV003353, AV003356 2 open reel 1/4 inch sound recording
Title transcribed from opening credits of video recording.
The Times of Richard Allen was created alongside the Climbing Jacob's Ladder: The Rise of Black Churches in Eastern American Cities, 1740 - 1877 exhibition which explored the growth and central role of African American churches during the 18th- and 19th-centuries in the eastern United States: Boston, Savannah, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. The exhibition was organized by the Anacostia Museum and held there from October 1987 to October 1988.
Born a slave in 1760 on the Delaware property of Benjamin Chew and later sold to Stokely Sturgis, Richard Allen was one of the founders of the Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia in 1789. In 1801, his collection of spiritual songs and hymns helped to establish an ongoing tradition of hymn singing at Mother Bethel. Allen also formed the Free African Society, Philadelphia's first black mutual aid society to serve the needs of African Americans regardless of religious beliefs, with Absalom Jones in 1787 after African Americans were segregated during worship services at St. George's United Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
Michael W. Howell collaborated with Smithsonian staff to create The Times of Richard Allen, a one-man dramatization performed by Howell at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in 1987 to augment the museum's exhibit "After the Revolution: Everyday Life in America, 1780-1800," which focused in part on Allen. [McIntyre, Mike. Accolade for Round House. The Washington Post, Feb. 17, 1987.]
Michael W. Howell dramatizes Richard Allen's life from his birth into slavery through his establishment of what was to become the modern-day African Methodist Episcopal Church. Events which led to the founding of the Free African Society and Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia are explained.
Short one-man dramatization with still images and narration interspersed. Part of Climbing Jacob's Ladder Audiovisual Records. Complete production: AV000961 [captions burned into image]. Production elements: AV003353 and AV003356 [narration]. AV003356: first minute only [remaining recording related to Twelfth Baptist Church of Boston]. Dated 19941031 [AV000961]. Undated [all other recordings].
The Times of Richard Allen, Exhibition Records AV03-036, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution
African American churches
African American clergy
Jacob's ladder (Biblical dream)
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Some items are not accessible due to obsolete format and playback machinery restrictions. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu