Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Birthday to…


Happy 264th Birthday to Richard Allen

The founder and First Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church


Born: February 14, 1760
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died: March 26, 1831 (71 years old)

Mr. Allen and a few members of his family were slaves who were given the opportunity to buy their freedom. Their owner was convinced by another minister who’d freed his own slaves to take this action. (Though, of course, simply setting them free would have been more admirable.) 


In 1780, Mr. Allen bought his freedom and took on the surname of “Allen.” He and his wife, Flora, worked closely together to establish a church. After her death, Mr. Allen moved to Philadelphia and married Sarah Bass who is known in the AME Church as the “Founding Mother.”


Other Achievements: 


·      A 1949 episode of a radio drama, Destination Freedom, called “Apostle of Freedom,” features Mr. Allen’s story.

·      Allen University, a historically Black university was renamed in Mr. Allen’s honor when it moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1880.

·      The US Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Mr. Allen in February 2016 with a first-day ceremony in Philadelphia. The stamp is part of the ongoing Black Heritage Series.


Happy 206th Birthday to Frederick Douglass

American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman

Born: February 14, 1818

Birthplace: Talbot County, Maryland, United States

Died: February 20, 1895 (77 years old)


This is the date listed as Mr. Douglass’s birthday, however, his actual birthdate isn’t known. He was born a slave and sold from one slaveowner to another throughout his youth. His first escape attempt failed, but he succeeded on his second attempt with the help of Anna Murray. They married, settled for a time in Massachusetts, and had five children.

His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, became a bestseller. He later wrote two additional books about his experiences as a former slave, a leader in the abolitionist movement, and supporter of women’s suffrage.


A man named Charles Lawson encouraged Mr. Douglass’s spiritual growth. “[I]n tones of holy affection he told me to pray, and to ‘cast all my care upon God.’…My desire to learn increased, and especially did I want a thorough acquaintance with the contents of the Bible.”


Happy 205th Birthday to Christopher Latham Sholes

“Father of the Typewriter”


Born: February 14, 1819

Birthplace: Mooresburg, Pennsylvania

Died: February 17, 1890 (71 years old)


Though he was an inventor, Mr. Sholes did not invent the typewriter. However, he did all of us a favor by inventing the QWERTY keyboard! He and his wife, Mary Jane McKinney, had ten children.

Other Achievements:


·      Editor of the Wisconsin Enquirer, the Milwaukee News, and the Milwaukee Sentinel.

·      Senator in the Wisconsin state legislature.

·      Collector of Customs of the port of Milwaukee (inducted by President Abraham Lincoln).


Your Turn ~ Which of these "Valentines" would you like to invite to dinner? I'm having trouble deciding myself! 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Valentine's Day. If you share your birthday or anniversary with this "beloved" holiday, then congrats!!!


Johnnie writes award-winning stories in multiple genres. A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, she shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Visit her at


Richard Allen ~ Painting of Allen on display at the World Methodist Museum, Lake Junaluska, NC. CC0. File:19-22-011-museum.jpg. Created: 14 May 2019. Public domain.

Frederick Douglass, c. 1840s, in his 20s. Unknown author. Retouched portrait. Public domain.

Christopher Latham Sholes, inventor of the first practical typewriter. Iles, George (1912). Leading American Inventors. H. Holt and Company. Permission details: PD-US (public domain/United States). File:Sholes.jpg. Created: 1 January 1912.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today. I can't decide who to invite for dinner among these men...maybe all of them and then sit back and listen to the table conversation, although two of them would have been teenagers when they would have met Richard Allen (in my fictional dinner).