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Biography

Preacher Jarena Lee: Praise in the Meantime

    Illustration of outdoor church gathering

    Jarena Lee, First Black Woman Preacher

    “Mrs. Jarena Lee, African Methodist Episcopal Church Evangelist,” 1849

    “Mrs. Jarena Lee, African Methodist Episcopal Church Evangelist,” 1849

    The Persistence of Faith

    Poster for the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia

    Poster for the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia

    an old man said he did not believe the coloured people had any souls . . . I labored on in the best manner . . . looking to God all the while . . . After I had done speaking, . . . [the old man] . . . said that my preaching might seem a small thing, yet . . . I had the worth of souls at heart.

    Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee, Giving an Account of Her Call to Preach the Gospel, 1836

    Emblazoned Testimonies

    Pulpit from the Metropolitan AME Church

    Pulpit from the Metropolitan AME Church

    Read More Lesser Known Stories

    The Man Behind Tennessee Whiskey

    Nathan “Nearest” Green was the first known Black master distiller and creator of the blueprint behind Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

    Crossing the Color Line to Freedom

    William and Ellen Craft, fugitives from slavery, devised a cunning plan that crossed race, gender, and class lines.

    This bronze portrait bust depicts Frank McWorter, formerly enslaved American and founder of New Philadelphia, Illinois. Shown from the chest up, the bust is mounted on a black stone rectangular base with the front protruding slightly at an angle. Frank McWorter wears a coat with a swirling texture incised onto the surface. under the coat is a buttoned waistcoat, shirt, high collar and cravat. He has a mustache and sideburns, and his head is turned slightly to the viewer’s' left. The bust is signed by the artist on the back of the left shoulder.

    An African American Venturer

    "Free" Frank McWorter, founded New Philadelphia, Illinois, the first known town to be founded and platted by an African American.

    Ibo Landing #7 artwork

    The Water Spirit Will Take Us Home

    The mass suicide by captive Africans at Igbo Landing marks one of the most significant acts of resistance by enslaved people.

    Portrait of Paul Jennings

    Enslaved at the White House

    Paul Jennings, enslaved by James and Dolly Madison, bought his freedom and published a personal memoir in 1865.

    Black and white illustration of James McCune Smith

    The First African American Physician

    James McCune Smith, the first African American to hold a medical degree, fought against the false scientific claims of Black inferiority.