Text    Click for small text size. Click for medium text size. Click for large text size.         Click to share this page.     Click to print the page.   GO »

Vignette Details

Ministers Richard Allen and Absalom Jones

Pennsylvania

42

The establishment of separate regional churches and the organization of African American churches in the North helped consolidate northern opposition to slavery.

In Philadelphia, two African American ministers, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones played critical roles. Allen’s church, known as "Mother Bethel," was the first African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) church in the United States, and sheltered hundreds of freedom seekers. Jones, meanwhile, attacked slavery from his pulpit at St. Thomas African Episcopal Church.

In 1799, Jones petitioned the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. Though unsuccessful, Jones argued, "In the Constitution and in the Fugitive Slave bill, no mention is made of Black people or slaves, therefore if the Bill of Rights…[is] of any validity, we beseech that as we are men, we may be admitted to partake of the Liberties [sic] and unalienable rights therein held forth."