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A Nation Divided

Richard Allen - The AME Church

Richard Allen - The AME Church
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.94

     challenging words:    untiring, strenuous, influential, supporter, social, preacher, tribute, lifestyle, death, illegal, frustration, civil, preach, bargain, region, lawyer
     content words:    Richard Allen, Now Richard, Stokeley Sturgis, United States, As Allen, Absalom Jones, Free African Society, Free Society, Mother Bethel, African Methodist Church

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Richard Allen - The AME Church
By Jane Runyon

1     The life of a slave in the 1700's was hard at best. The first generation of slaves brought to the colonies had been kidnapped from their homes in Africa. They were shipped to the new world, sold to men who needed workers for their fields, given new identities, and stripped of all traditions they had known in their homelands. These slaves, men, women, and children, had no rights in the colonies. While the colonists were fighting for their freedom from England, the slaves were expected to keep working and, in some cases, fight for the freedom of their masters. Richard Allen was born into a slave family from Philadelphia in 1760.
2     Until he was seven years old, Richard lived and worked for a lawyer and his family in Philadelphia. He and his family were household slaves meaning that they worked inside the home doing cooking, cleaning, and child care. At age seven, he and his family were sold to a farmer in Delaware. They were lucky that their family had not been split up as was the custom for most. Their lifestyle changed completely, though. Now Richard became a field hand which was much more strenuous. At age 17, Richard's mother and three of his siblings were sold to plantation owners in the south. He would never see this part of his family again.
3     It was soon after losing his family members that Richard was present for another life changing event. In that summer of 1777, Richard heard the words of a traveling Methodist minister. The minister created a believer in Richard when he told him that even though he might be deprived of the love of his family here on earth, God's love could never be taken away from him. Seeking out ministers to help him with his new belief became dangerous. In those days, it was illegal for blacks to meet together without whites being present. Richard took many chances in trying to learn all he could about his new Methodist belief. The Methodists he learned from did not believe that slavery was right. They taught him about freedom for all men.

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