He died at home on March 26, 1831. His body was interred in a tomb at the lower level of the church
Richard Allen was born into slavery in 1760 on the Sturgis plantation in Delaware. He had a brother, and with him attended meetings of the local Methodist Society, which was welcoming to slaves and free blacks. Richard had taught himself to read and write. Converted early, he joined the Methodistsat age 17. He began evangelizing and attending services so regularly that he attracted criticism from local slave owners. Allen and his brother redoubled their efforts for Sturgis in order to continue as exhorters for Methodism. Allen married Sarah, who was born into slavery in 1764 in Virginia's Isle of Wight County. She had been brought to Philadelphia at age 18 and was free by 1800, when they met. They were married within a year. They had six children: Richard, Jr.; James, John, Peter, Sarah and Ann.
In addition to the work of the family, Sara actively assisted Allen in the church and supported work to take care of runaway slaves, including feeding and clothing them. In 1827, seeing that the ministers coming to conference looked bedraggled, she organized Daughters of Conference as a women's organization to assist the church with their skills. Initially they helped provide material support to the ministers, including mending their garments. The women's organization continued after her death, taking on more social welfare issues for church members and the community.
The church vestry voted to build a gallery for the segregated use of blacks. Allen also regularly preached on the commons near the church, slowly gaining a congregation of nearly 50, and supporting himself with a variety of odd jobs.
Allen and Absalom Jones, also a Methodist preacher, resented the white congregants' segregating the blacks for worship and prayer. They decided to leave St. George's to create independent worship for African Americans. This brought some opposition from the white church as well as the more established blacks of the community. In 1787, Allen and Jones led the black members out of St. George's Methodist Church.
They formed the Free African Society (FAS), a non-denominational mutual aid society, which assisted fugitive slaves and new migrants to the city. Allen, along with Absalom Jones, William Gray and William Wilcher, found an available lot on Sixth Street near Lombard. Allen negotiated a price and purchased this lot in 178He opened his first church in 1794 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was elected the first bishop of the AME Church. Allen started as a Methodist preacher but, together with his supporters, wanted to establish a black congregation independent of white control. The AME church is the oldest denomination among independent African-American churches. He was born into slavery in 1760 on the Sturgis plantation in Delaware. He had a brother, and with him attended meetings of the local Methodist Society, which was welcoming to slaves and free blacks. Richard had taught himself to read and write. Converted early, he joined the Methodists at age 17. He began evangelizing and attending services so regularly that he attracted criticism from local slave owners. Allen and his brother redoubled their efforts for Sturgis in order to continue as exhorters for Methodism. Reverend Freeborn Garrettson, who had freed his own slaves in 1775, began to preach in Delaware; he was among many Methodist and Baptist ministers after the American Revolutionary War who encouraged slaveholders to emancipate their people. When Garrettson visited the Sturgis plantation to preach, "Allen's master was touched by this declaration... began to give consideration to the thought that holding slaves was sinful..." Sturgis soon was convinced that slavery was wrong, and offered his slaves an opportunity to buy their freedom. In 1780, Richard was able to get a slavery agreement from his master Stokeley. Allen married Sarah who was born into slavery in