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George White, b. 1764
A Brief Account of the Life, Experience, Travels, and Gospel Labours of George White, an African; Written by Himself, and Revised by a Friend
New York: Printed by John C. Totten, 1810


The following annotations to A Brief Account of the Life, Experience, Travels, and Gospel Labours of George White, an African; Written by Himself, and Revised by a Friend were compiled in the spring 2003 by Brian DeBragga and Abbie Miller, first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a class project in Professor William L. Andrews's First-Year Seminar on Slavery and Freedom in African American Literature and Film. We welcome any corrections, additions, or suggested revisions of these annotations. Send feedback to

Title Page

"God hath chosen the foolish things of the world . . . " 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

St. PaulApostle whose teachings are outlined in the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles

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Accomack, state of Virginiaa town located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in Accomac County.

Esther Countylikely a misspelling of Essex County, located west of Accomack, VA and south of Somerset County, MD, a conceivable destination for White given the restraints of travel and the prevalence of slavery in this region.

Sommerset Countya coastal county (present-day spelling Somerset) in Maryland directly north of Accomac County, VA.

Suffolka Virginia Tidewater town located 20 miles southeast of Norfolk.

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Thraldomservitude or bondage.

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Church of Englandthe English national church and the founding church of the Anglican Communion.

Methodists members of an evangelical Protestant church.

Annimissicksmall town in Somerset County, Maryland (present-day spelling: Annemessex).


New Yorka state in the northeastern United States.

Philadelphiaa southeastern Pennsylvania city located on the Delaware River.

New Jerseya state in the east-central United States.

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"The axe is laid unto the root of the trees"Matthew 3:10.

Bowery ChurchSt. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery; an Episcopalian Church built in 1799 at the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street in New York City.

Watch-nighta common African American tradition during which church members gather in a church on New Year's Eve to celebrate the new year.

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Camp-Meetinga religious gathering held in a tent or outdoors, often lasting several days.

"...a lake burning with fire and brimstone"Revelation 19:20.

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Bosom companiona dear friend.

Covenantedto promise.

Exhortera person licensed by the Quarterly Conference of the Methodist Church to offer encouragement through personal testimony, explaining and interpreting scriptures, leading groups, and conducting prayer services.

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"Go—warn the wicked to flee from the wrath to come."Matthew 3:7.

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Long Islandthe largest island in the continental United States located in southeastern New York. Two boroughs of New York City, Queens and Brooklyn, are situated on the western end.

New Lotsa former town on Long Island (founded in 1852) and annexed by Brooklyn in 1886.

Deiststhose who believe in the existence of God on the evidence of reason and who reject supernatural revelation.

Babylona Long Island town located on the Great South Bay of Suffolk County, NY.

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the LambJesus Christ.

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"... .pray without ceasing, and rejoice evermore"1 Thessalonians 5:16-17.

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Perditioneternal damnation.

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Master's commandGod's will

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"Loose him and let him go."John 11:44.

"Remember Jonah"Jonah was thrown overboard during a storm sent by God after Jonah refused to accept his prophetic calling. Jonah was swallowed by a whale, and vomited up unharmed onto dry land. Jonah 1:1-17; 2:1-10

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IslandLong Island, NY.

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"... that Job's friends did him."Job 3:1-31:40.

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" ...they, as well as myself, must shortly stand before the Judgment seat of Christ..."2 Corinthians 5:10.

"Lord of the harvest hear/Thy needy children's cry: Answer their faith's effectual pray'r"Charles Wesley's hymn, "Lord of the Harvest, Hear" (1742).

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Quarterly Conferencethe supreme governing body of Methodist Churches in a given region, composed of local officers and auxiliaries that meet four times a year.

Shepherd of the sheepJesus Christ [Hebrews 13:20].

President elderthe Methodist leader who presides over the Quarterly Conference for every church in his assigned district.

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"O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."Psalms 107:8.

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"If all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth."Corinthians 14:24-25

Woodbridgea small New Jersey town 45 miles northeast of Trenton.

Flushing (NY)a town on Long Island, part of the Borough of Queens.

"The Head of the Fly"a meadow in the former town of Jamaica that overlooks the source of Flushing Creek.

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Jamaicaa town on Long Island, part of the Borough of Queens.

Sabbaththe first day of the week, Sunday, intended for rest and worship by most Christians.

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Panoply'ddressed in armor of a warrior.

Newtown (NY)a town on Long Island, part of the Borough of Queens.

Christian armourEphesians 6:13-17.

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Brunswicka city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, on the Raritan River.

Shrewsburya city in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Middletowna city in Monmouth county, New Jersey, northeast of Trenton.

Woodbridgea city on the Eastern border of Middlesex county.

Trenton, New-Jerseycapital city of New Jersey located along the Delaware River 30 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Redeemer's kingdomGod's kingdom.

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Wilmington; state of Delawarecity in northern Delaware in New Castle County along the Delaware River.

Baltimorecity in northern Maryland near the mouth of the Patapsco River on the Chesapeake Bay.

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Cranberry, state of New-Jerseya small town located in the southwestern portion of Middlesex County.

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Little Necksmall town in Massachusetts on the eastern seaboard of Massachusetts Bay in Nassau County.

York IslandLong Island, New York.

SingsingSing Sing, now known as Ossining, a town located in southeastern New York, north of New York City, on the eastern bank of the Hudson River.

Westchestera New York community located directly west of the Bronx.

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Jerusalema small town bordering Lake Eerie in Eerie County, New York.

"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins."Isaiah 58:1.

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"Happy soul, thy days are ended..."a hymn in The Anglican Hymn Book and in A Collection of Hymns for the use of the people called Methodists, by John Wesley.

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"Clap their hands, and shout unto God with the voice of triumph"Psalm 47:1.

"should sing and shout because the holy one of Israel is great in the midst of them"Isaiah 7:6.

"For that the upright in heart" should "shout for joy"Psalm 36:11.

"felt the powers of the world to come"Hebrews 6:5.

"to him that has washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and the Father; to whom be glory for ever and ever"Revelation 1:5-6.

Elegypoem or song composed as a lament for a deceased person.

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"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able."Luke 13:24.

Zionthe holy city of Jerusalem.

"Them that sleep in Jesus, God will bring with him"1 Thessalonians 4:14.

"came to seek and to save that which was lost"Luke 19:10.

Gallaleanspeople of Galilee, a city north of Samaria, in Palestine.

PilateRoman procurator of Judea under whose power Jesus Christ was condemned to death.

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"Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return"Genesis 3:19.

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me."John 14:6.

"Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it."Matthew 7:14.

"I am the door, by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and go in and out and find pasture."John 10:9.

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"By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."Ephesians 2:8.

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"He that cometh unto me, I will not wise cast out."John 6:37.

"When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know not whence ye are, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity."Luke 13:25-27.

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"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and will open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."Revelation 3:20.

Nichodemusa Pharisee sympathetic to Jesus, John 3:1-9.

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."Isaiah 55:6-7.

"Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."Luke 12: 40.

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"Judge of the quick and dead"Acts 10:42, 2 Timothy 4:1, 1 Peter 4:5.

"Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepares for the devil and his angels."Matthew 25: 41.

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"How wond'rous are thy ways..."evidently a poem composed by George White for delivery at Mary Henery's funeral.

ImmanuelEmmanuel, the name of the child predicted to be born to the virgin Mary, also meaning "God with us."

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"Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," which the apostle Paul denominates as the "Kingdom of God"Romans 14:17.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice."Philippians 4:4.

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"the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth"Hebrews 12:6.

"For he is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."Proverbs 18:24.

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St. AustinSt. Augustine (d. 605 CE), first archbishop of Canterbury.

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apostle Johnone of the twelve disciples of Jesus.

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"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God."Isaiah 40:1.