Formerly Enslaved, He Never Took His Freedom For Granted

Bethabara Moravian Church
Shonda Buchanan
March 20, 2021

When George Liele converted to Christianity in 1773, he began preaching to his fellow enslaved brethren – convinced it could help with their suffering. Liele’s genuine desire to use his spiritual liberation to help his people earned him his freedom! But danger lurked.

After two years of preaching and helping to form one of the first Black churches, the unthinkable happened.

Not only did whites resent Liele’s autonomy, they hated his leadership. And the first in line to stop him? His former slave master’s children, who attempted to re-enslave Liele and had him jailed after the Revolutionary War!

Luckily, Liele produced his freedom papers, but he knew he had to do something drastic – because despite his freedom, in America he’d never be safe. He had to get creative and think outside the box. So what did he do?

He signed a contract to become a servant to a British loyalist in order to pay for passage for himself and his family to Jamaica. There, he preached, grew his congregation and became one of the first missionaries. 

Of course, white churches and religious organizations rarely give Liele credit for his persistence, audacity and accomplishments!

But we don’t need their approval to know we’re badasses! Remember, when we fight for our liberation by any means, then we can maintain our freedom despite white supremacy trying to keep us down.

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