This is a carefully, and not easily, reconstructed life of the first Negro Methodist Bishop, Richard Allen, a Delaware plantation slave who purchased his freedom in 1780 and turned to Methodism -- the ""Negro's balm in Gilead"". After the Yellow Fever epidemic which contributed heavily to the degeneracy of Negro conditions, he formed his own church -- Bethel, which was to become the ""most important factor in the religious life of the American Negro"". He also led the protest against colonization and the domestic slave trade. He died in 1831. The publishers justly hope for a non-denominational audience for this story. It is one of the earliest records of the Negro struggle for freedom in this country and it has a quiet, firm handling here.