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Elizabeth, 1765?-1866
Memoir of Old Elizabeth, a Coloured Woman.
Philadelphia: Collins, 1863.


The Memoir of Old Elizabeth, a Coloured Woman (1863) was recorded when she was ninety-seven years old. Born a slave in Maryland in 1766, Elizabeth was exposed to religion at an early age, as both of her parents belonged to the Methodist Society, and her father regularly read to his children from the Bible. When she was eleven, Elizabeth was sold several miles away from her family, and around a year later she experienced a dramatic conversion to Christianity. After briefly returning to her family, she was sold twice, the second time to a Presbyterian minister who freed her when she was thirty years old. For several years after gaining her freedom, Elizabeth tried to travel and preach, but not all communities accepted a woman as a minister. Instead, she began to hold prayer meetings in homes and continued this practice for many years, despite strong church opposition. Elizabeth then began to travel and hold religious meetings in various places, including Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and Canada. She lived in Michigan for four years, and when she was eighty-seven, she moved to Philadelphia, where she was living at the time of this publication.

Monique Prince

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