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The history of the formation of the black churches in Nova Scotia begins in Virginia. George Liele was born in Virginia as the slave of a Baptist deacon named Henry Sharp. Liele moved with his master to Georgia. Liele's master encouraged his slaves to worship, and another ministerencouraged Liele to learn the teachings of the Bible and become a preacher. Liele was then freed by his master began preaching among the slaves to introduce them to God.

Liele was not the first preacher to try and bring the word of God to slaves. Many Anglican missionaries had been trying to do just that for decades. They often faced opposition from slave owners who didn't want their workers to start having delusions of any sort of equality.

Eventually, Liele was accepted by many Baptist slaveowners, and with their help he built a chapel for slaves. He was the first black preacher to do so, making his church of great historic importance.

Liele had to make many compromises to maintain his church. His sermons were read over and edited by white authorities to be certain that he wasn't spreading word of revolt. During the revolution, Liele's sermons were stopped entirely for fear that slaves might learn too much from a traveling preacher with contacts in white Christendom.

Here is where David George came to the fore. George had long been a group leader and exhorter in Liele's church. When Liele and Palmer, (the white Baptist who had encouraged the experiment), were prevented from preaching at the church, George became a church leader. He took over the management of the church and became the first recorded slave pastor in America.

Still, this groundbreaking public church was not the beginning of Black Christianity. Both Boston King and John Marrant mention secret prayer meetings and talk of God's will among the slaves before their escape. Brush Arbors are frequently mentioned in later slave narratives, secret churches built in the woods from reeds and brush cane. Slaves would sneak away at night and gather to have their own style of prayer meetings. David George himself resorted to this type of church when he first arrived in Port Roseway (Shelburne).

Faith go backgo upgo to next Anglican
Image: Blacks in a small church
Slaves had a conflicted relationship with Christianity, desiring it as a symbol of freedom, but rejecting the manner it was brought to them.

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David George

John Marrant


David George's Life

John Marrant's Narrative

Boston King's Memoirs