Group 7

The Soldier Slighted

Deidre Sperry and Natalie Davis

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It is 1793, and Reverend Richard Allen lives in Philadelphia after gaining his freedom from slavery. But when a yellow fever epidemic strikes the city and the rich and powerful abandon the poor, he is asked to serve the white community again by organizing a group of black nurses to treat victims of the virus. Today, you will hear the story of how Allen’s compassion and humanity shaped his surprising response to a city’s call for help, which prompted Allen’s emergence as an advocate for racial equality and opportunity within the United States

Further Reading 

Espinosa, Mariola. “The Question of Racial Immunity to Yellow Fever in History and Historiography.” Social Science History, vol. 38, no. 3-4, 2014, pp. 437–453.

Hogarth, Rana Asali. 2019. “The Myth of Innate Racial Differences Between White and Black People’s Bodies: Lessons From the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” American Journal of Public Health 109 (10): 1339–41. 

Liebers, David. 2008. “Unassuming Heroism: Richard Allen’s Theology, Writing and Leadership 

during Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793.” Journal of Undergraduate Research 7, no. 1 (Fall): 12-15.

Miller, Jacquelyn C. “The Wages of Blackness: African American Workers and the Meanings of Race during Philadelphia’s 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 129, no. 2 (2005): 163-94. 


Smith, Billy G. “In the ‘Midst of Death’: When African Americans Saved Our Nation’s Capital.” Pennsylvania Legacies, vol. 19, no. 1, 2019, pp. 6–11.



Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. “Fever (1793-1820) – Philadelphia: The Great Experiment,” 

Youtube video, 29:05. Apr 6, 2012,


The American Storyteller. “The Story of Richard Allen -Founder of the AME Church,” Youtube 

video, 18:04. Feb 22, 2016,


Khalafnasirs. “I Meet Autumn.” 2019. Ccmixter audio recording. 


Zsignmond, Doxent. “Forgotten Land.” 2014. Ccmixter audio recording.


De Boer, Martijn. “How Can I Keep From Singing?” 2015. Ccmixter audio recording.