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Elizabeth, 1765?-1866
Elizabeth, a Colored Minister of the Gospel Born in Slavery
Philadelphia: Tract Assoc. of Friends, 1889.


Elizabeth, a Colored Minister of the Gospel Born in Slavery is the narrative of a woman who was born in slavery and experienced a dramatic vision in her youth, prompting her to become an evangelical Christian preacher. The narrative was republished under this title by Quakers in 1889 and is a reissue of her original story, Memoir of Old Elizabeth, a Coloured Woman (1863).

Added to the 1889 publication is a "brief account of Elizabeth's last sickness and death" in 1866 (p. 12). This addendum not only describes the persecution Elizabeth experienced as a female preacher not ordained by any particular Christian denomination, but also indicates that Elizabeth's brazenness may have added to her hardships: "This out-speaking way sometimes gave offence, even where much sympathy was felt for her" (p. 13). The author of the addendum notes that Elizabeth, who was emancipated at age thirty by a Presbyterian minister, was also a vocal supporter of Emancipation and was greatly concerned about the physical and moral condition of emancipated slaves: "very fervent were her longings for their uprising and deliverance from the captivity of sin" (p. 13). The text includes additional accounts of Elizabeth's views on the purifying and transformative power of suffering, closing with her final vision: "'Suffering has washed my robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: now let me be quiet for two hours.' At the end of that time her breathing gently ceased; and without doubt her ransomed spirit entered through the pearl gates" (p. 16).

Jenn Williamson

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