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Levin Tilmon, 1807-1863
A Brief Miscellaneous Narrative of the More Early Part of the Life of L. Tilmon: Pastor of a Colored Methodist Congregational Church in the City of New York
Jersey City: W.W. & L.A. Pratt, Printers, 1853.


Levin Tilmon (1807-1863) was born into slavery in Maryland. When he was a young child, Tilmon was emancipated, along with his mother and three of his siblings. His mother apprenticed him to a farmer in Delaware when he was eight years old—a situation that Tilmon thought largely resembled slavery. He escaped to Philadelphia as a young man, although he was caught and forced to return to his master in Delaware. He escaped again shortly thereafter, when faced with the alternative of being sold to a slave- trader. With the help of a group of abolitionists from Wilmington, Delaware, he arranged to serve the Mitchell family for the four remaining years of his contract. While with the Mitchells, he received religious training and six months of schooling. After he became legally free, Tilmon joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1830. He received his license to preach in 1836 and traveled throughout the northeast as a missionary and guest preacher, spending significant time in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Levin Tilmon's A Brief Miscellaneous Narrative (1853) relates Tilmon's experiences and includes letters, sermons, and poems written by himself and others, including one letter by Frederick Douglass and one letter from his mother, whom he hadn't seen or heard from since his childhood. These texts emphasize Tilmon's Christian faith and his belief in the importance of abolition.

Monique Prince

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