It is the 29th of November 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I'm Dan van Voorhis.
The year was 1833
Today we will look at that time in American history when the founding generation gave way to the first generation of "lifelong" Americans.
A couple of firsts for this year include the first tax-supported public library in New Hampshire. In 1833 the first soda fountain was patented by the team of Evert and Dulty. Oberlin College in Ohio opened as the first co-educational school in America.
While Britain's Slavery Abolition Act passed in 1833, the question was getting stickier in the new United States. It wasn't as if the question of slavery had not come up in America before. It had been such a hot topic that it was tabled until after the revolution.
Anti-slavery societies popped up in both New York and Philadelphia this year. The story of Prudence Crandall made news in a similar vein. Crandall, a white woman, opened an academy for girls in Canterbury, Connecticut. But in 1833, when she enrolled African American girls at the school, she was imprisoned. This famous case would serve as the backdrop for both the Dred Scott case and Brown vs. the Board of Education.
Interestingly, it was in the years after the revolution that the early Northern states were relatively integrated. Brits and tyranny, not the need for forced labor, made life a little easier for the north's African American population. The remarkable ascent of people unable to do the very same things just decades later is a theme in today's show as we remember a man who died on this day, in this year. The man was an African American, a one-time indentured servant, a Green Mountain Boys Militia member during the Revolutionary War, and the first ordained African American minister in the United States.
Lemuel Haynes was born in Connecticut in 1753 to a white mother and a black father. He was indentured when his family fell on hard times, and Haynes would work hard labor until 1774, just after his 21st birthday. He joined the minutemen and fought in several battles during the war. He was also writing while stationed at Ft. Ticonderoga. It was there, in 1776, that he wrote "Liberty Extended," an essay on why slavery was incompatible with the ideals of the revolution.
Haynes was offered an education at Dartmouth but went instead to his home state of Vermont, where he could study classical languages and theology with the local pastors. Haynes was licensed to preach in 1780 and officially ordained into the Congregational church in 1785. Haynes, the first African American to be ordained, was the sole pastor at a solely white congregation in Rutland, Vermont, for 30 years.
Haynes would also be the first African American to be awarded an honorary degree. He was awarded a Master's degree from Middlebury College. Haynes was a federalist in politics, an anti-slavery Republican, and a fervent believer in the orthodoxies of the Congregational church. He often butted heads with those founders who found themselves cozying up to Deism.
Haynes lived out the rest of his career preaching in pulpits across the new country and ended up in South Granville, New York, where he preached for the last time, and died on this, the 29th of November in 1833. Born in 1753, Lemuel Haynes was 80 years old.
The reading for today comes from Lemuel Haynes. This was recorded by a friend and local pastor who visited Haynes on his deathbed. Hear this good word about life and death from America's first ordained African American minister
"I have been examining myself and looking back upon my past life, but I can find nothing in myself and nothing in all my past services to recommend me at the bar of Jehovah. Christ is my all. His blood is my only hope of acceptance. My pains are great; but, blessed be God, they are not eternal. I long to be in heaven."
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 29th of November 2020 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. Christopher Gillespie produces the show, whose only association with the phrase "Green Mountain" is somewhat negative… let's ditch those pods. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day, and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.