1760?1831, American clergyman, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was born a slave in Philadelphia and purchased his freedom. He became pastor of a black group that had seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. When the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized nationally (1816), Allen was consecrated its first bishop. An ardent abolitionist, he publicly challenged the morality of slavery and did much to lay the philosophical groundwork for the black nationalist movement.
See biographies by M. M. Mathews (1963), C. V. R. George (1973), and R. S. Newman (2008).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Protestant Christianity: Biographies