Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers, winner of ForeWord’s Book of the Year Gold Award for Biography, was recently the subject of a long, in-depth review in The New Republic.
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, Richard 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.