Preaching Abolition - Lemuel Haynes Breaks Barriers
Lemuel Haynes was one of the most successful Black Patriots in the early United States.
Haynes was the first black man to be licensed as a preacher in the young nation.
Additionally, he was the first American of African decent who earned and honorary degree from a university.
Lemuel Haynes was born to a black father and white mother in Hartford, Connecticut in 1753.
The identity of his father is unknown and that of his mother is murky at best.
The earliest information we can be sure about is that he was placed in indentured servitude to a man named David Rose.
Rose was a Deacon and part of the agreement was that he would educated Haynes. During his youth in the Rose household, Lemuel was deeply influenced by the religious thinking of the First Great Awakening.
By the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Haynes had joined the militia in Granville, Massachusetts.
He joined his fellow soldiers in response to the Lexington Alarm, assisting in the Siege of Boston.
After the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, Haynes was stationed there for several months. Unfortunately, he fell ill and was forced to put down his arms and regain his health.
The Good Word
After the war ended, Haynes studied to become a Congregationalist Pastor.
In 1885, Lemuel became the first black man to receive a license to preach in the United States.
After three years overseeing a congregation in Connecticut, he moved to Rutland,Vermont where he would spend the next 33 years of his life preaching to a community made up almost entirely of white people.
During his time in Vermont, Haynes married and had ten children.
Furthermore, he was awarded an honorary masters degree from Middlebury College. Again, he was the first black man in America to receive such certification.
Eventually, Haynes removed to Upstate New York where he would preach for the final eleven years of his life.
Lemuel Haynes is most remembered for his outspoken anti-slavery rhetoric.
Although most Northern States were eliminating the practice by this time, nationwide abolition was still a taboo subject.
Most of the American leaders who were attempting to solve the problem of slavery supported groups like the American Colonization Society. Organizations of this nature wanted to send black people over to Africa to start a new community.
Haynes correctly assessed that this was a fruitless task and promoted the idea that Americans of all skin pigments deserve the right to pursue happiness as they saw fit.
His ability to speak his mind in this fashion, as a black man (even in the North), demonstrate just how respected Lemuel Haynes was by his peers.
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Haynes has several books written about him.
‘The Black Puritan’ is the only one I have read so it is the only one I can recommend.
If you’d like a copy you can get one through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).