Richard Allen


The 39th stamp in the Black Heritage series commemorates preacher, activist, and civic leader Richard Allen (1760-1831), an inspiring figure whose life and work resonate profoundly in American history. This stamp coincides with the 200th anniversary of Allen’s founding of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, one of the most important institutions in African-American life, and his election and consecration as its first bishop.

After purchasing his own freedom from slavery and making a name for himself as a traveling minister throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Allen was asked to preach to his fellow African Americans at a Methodist church in Philadelphia. He quickly rose to prominence as a civic leader, co-founding an organization to help African-American neighbors in need, rallying black Philadelphians to serve as aid workers during a yellow fever epidemic, and preparing the black community to defend the city during the War of 1812.

Eager to establish an independent African-American church, Allen purchased an old blacksmith’s shop and moved it to land he owned at Sixth and Lombard Streets. Bethel Church was dedicated in 1794 and soon attracted several hundred members, but Allen spent years in conflict with white church leaders who sought to assert their control. After a campaign that included sit-ins by African-Americans and a judgment by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the congregation secured its independence. In 1816, Allen summoned other black Methodist leaders to Philadelphia, where together they founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, electing and consecrating Allen as its first bishop.

The stamp is now available for purchase at, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide.

Fee-based Employment Information No Guarantee of Job

Fee based information

In a tough economy, many job seekers look for an edge in obtaining a quality position with a good company. That search can lead individuals to educational improvement opportunities and skill training programs that enhance hirability. Sometimes, it can also lead to companies that peddle hiring materials already offered for free by the chosen employer.

Study guides usually contain useful information to help a person obtain employment. A company interested in bringing new people into the fold will generally provide guidelines and sample material to prepare applicants for the hiring process. Other, unrelated companies can obtain that material, package it with a list of currently available job opportunities with benefits and the promise of getting hired, and sell the combination as a job-winning success package. The only success in these programs is the money the company rakes in from people buying their material.

If a company is hiring new employees, they will make that information available for free to interested individuals. It isn’t necessary to buy a list of current openings. If someone is interested in job opportunities with the Postal Service, all they have to do is go to to find out what’s available. There are no hidden fees or charges for access to the information, and there are free study materials available to help with the testing process.

Always keep in mind that there is no source of information offered for sale that can guarantee a job opportunity or high test scores. Use this as a gauge to determine if any particular offer of information is a scam.

What other potential employment scams have you come across?

The Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation proclamation

On January 2, 2013, the Postal Service released the Emancipation Proclamation stamp. The new issue celebrates the 150th anniversary of the signing of the historic order by President Abraham Lincoln.

The Proclamation was issued during the Civil War on January 1, 1863 to free slaves located in 10 states engaged in rebellion against the authority of the United States. This was made possible without congressional approval based on President Lincoln’s power as Commander-in-Chief during an armed rebellion.

The stamp is available at Post Offices nationwide, online at, and by phone at 800-Stamp24.

Franking isn’t Free

For most Americans, the price of a First-Class U.S. Postage Stamp is 45 cents. While this is still a bargain considering that many other countries around the globe charge more, and in some cases a great deal more, there are some individuals who have the option of sending mail without cost to them.

Since the founding of the Postal Service in 1775, members of Congress have been able to send official business mail without a postage stamp. This practice, called franked mail, allows an elected official in the House of Representatives or the Senate to use their signature, either handwritten or facsimile, in place of a stamp on an envelope. Franked mail can only include mass mailing of material for the area they were elected to and not campaign material or other personal reasons. There are many regulations on what an elected official can send as franked mail, as well as penalties for misuse.

Although members of Congress can send this mail without cost to them, the Postal Service is still paid for its services by the U.S. Treasury. The amount of franked mail that passes through the system is counted and recorded by control mechanisms in the Senate, House of Representatives and the Postal Service. The cost for each piece is reimbursed to the USPS.

What do you think about franked mail?

How to Capture a Stamp…

…as a valuable part of your stamp collection. When you receive a card or letter in the mail sent with an interesting stamp, why throw it away? You can safely remove the stamp from the envelope and add it to your collection instead. If you don’t yet have a collection, what better way to start one than with a free stamp?

We regularly receive stamps in the mail on a variety of envelopes. From advertising pieces, business correspondence, and personal mail received from friends and family, you have quite an opportunity to yield a bounty of stamps, all without charge. Once you’ve established your collection, add to it with stamps from your local Post Office or to enhance your album.

Here are a few tips from the American Philatelic Society on how to remove a stamp from an envelope without damaging it:

  1. Cut the envelope paper around the stamp.
  2. Remember your laundry protocol – separate the white envelopes from brightly colored ones.
  3. Soak the separated stamps face up in lukewarm water.
  4. The stamps should easily slip away from the paper after a few minutes, but don’t force it. Keep soaking them until they’re ready to separate with minimal effort.
  5. Remove the glue from the stamps by rinsing with water. Place in between two paper towels and allow them to dry overnight. Make sure something flat and heavy presses down on the towel-encased stamps to keep them from curling.

What stamps have you received in the mail?

Free Stuff

Did someone say free? Free stuff is something that almost everyone can enjoy receiving. From winning a sweepstakes to trinkets picked up at a trade show, people have been enjoying free stuff wherever and whenever they’re offered. When searching for that next free item, why not try

Now available on is a section dedicated to free samples. The Postal Service is offering the opportunity to connect customers with free product samples from top brands and have them delivered to their door. Just go to, click on Manage Your Mail, and select Learn About Free Product Samples to get started.

In addition to free samples, you’ll also find coupons, contests, and discounts on different products and services. Take a look at the site today and see if it has something that’s right for you.

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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