State Rep. Chris Rabb holds dedication ceremony for renaming of Allens Lane

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila, held a dedication ceremony at Allens Lane to commemorate the memory of Richard Allen.

Rabb said Allens Lane was originally named after William Allen, the 26th Mayor of Philadelphia. But Allen was an enslaver and a British loyalist who was condemned in his own lifetime by abolitionists for his stance in favor of the continued enslavement of Black people.

City Council passed a resolution to redirect the street name to honor Richard Allen. Councilmember Cindy Bass, D-Phila, introduced the resolution, under the behest of Rabb.

Rabb said Richard Allen was a man of integrity who fought endlessly for racial justice and equality. Born into slavery, he bought his freedom for $2,000 from his enslaver, Benjamin Chew, the namesake of Chew Avenue. Active in his faith community, he led a walk-out from St. George’s Episcopal Church because Black worshippers we’re relegated to the back pews. 

 Allen went on to co-found the Free African Society and the African Methodist Episcopal Church where he become a bishop. It was the first national Black church denomination in the United States. 

 “When we take time to research our history, it gives us a chance to reflect and correct choices made with the inclusion or consideration of a diversity of stakeholders,” Rabb said. “We must closely examine the history we choose to memorialize and honor, especially versions of the past validated by false narratives that marginalize the value of Black people and other communities of struggle.”