“Whereas our ancestors (not of choice) were the first successful cultivators of the wilds of America, we their descendants feel ourselves entitled to participate in the blessings of her luxuriant soil.” — Richard Allen
As a descendent of Africans on America’s “luxuriant soil,” I relish celebrating and honoring my ancestors—their struggles, courage, achievements and imprint on our country’s history. In celebration of Black History Month, each day in February I’ll post a short story or other info about history makers, pathfinders and do-gooders in the realm of African American philanthropy.
Today, we honor Richard Allen (1760–1831), a minister, educator and writer, and the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Allen also was co-founder in 1787 of the Free African Society, which represents an early form of collective giving. His selfless deeds during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 well as his formidable role in founding of the Black church, place him among the early framers of American philanthropy (as I talked about here).
— VF (#BHM Day One)
One would argue that the American Indians were actually the first cultivators. Just saying. I’m looking forward to your posts this month, Valaida! 🙂
No argument on that! We’re in agreement. In fact, I’m in Denver, CO now with a small group of American Indians, African Americans and multicultural people, discussing how we can build on our respective philanthropic values and traditions to create the communities we want to see.
Wonderful! How can I stay up to date on that? Will you keep us up to date here or me personally on email (please?) 🙂 Collaboration is the best way to get the best things done and I just love the above news. 🙂
Valaida, These posts are a wonderful gift! Of course, I agree with Desiree about the first cultivators as well as the ‘first givers’ in America. I am glad that CIN is having that conversation,not only to arrive on the right side of history, but to forge networks that can help to focus Native American and African American philanthropy on ensuring that “their descendants” … do “participate in the blessings of her luxuriant soil”, by 2026. Linetta J Gilbert
Thank you Linetta!