As Black History Month comes to a close, I would like to bring some attention to the life of George Liele, a preacher to the slaves of Jamaica. The Travel Team reports, "George Liele is considered to be America’s first missionary. He chose to leave America in 1782 to start a church in Kingston, Jamaica."
The Jamaica-Gleaner newspaper describes Liele as a "national hero." The Gleaner reports, "Liele, unlike all other 'religionists' to visit Jamaica before, came voluntarily, not part of the 'establishment', of the same colour as the majority, and did not operate as a landowner or slave trader." Liele was "the first ordained black preacher in America."
Liele left a great legacy for future generations of Christians. Tragically few Christians have ever read about Liele's life.
Clement Gayle tells the story of Liele's life in the booklet George Liele: Pioneer Missionary to Jamaica. Gayle taught church history at United Theological College of the West Indies.
For further reading: