Lemuel Haynes, Voice of Faith, Freedom, and Justice
Reverend Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833) was a respected Congregationalist clergyman in the late 18th and early 19th centuries who powerfully communicated his Christian beliefs intertwined with the cause of ending slavery. He was the first ordained Black minister in the US and the first to lead a white congregation — a 30-year commitment at a West Rutland church. The timing is significant in that he was in his fiery mid-20s when the colonies formally became one nation comprised of free states and slave states. Ultimately, he passed away at the age of 80 without the knowledge it would be another 32 years before the shackling of human life would legally end, following the horrors of national division and unprecedented violence of the Civil War.
According to blackpast.org “During his years at Rutland, Haynes developed a reputation for evangelical Calvinist fervor and staunch opposition to slavery and oppression. His dynamic sermons and essays which stressed interracial benevolence, liberty, natural rights, and justice were distributed in newspapers internationally, making him one of the first African Americans to be published. He also received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College at its second commencement in 1804, only the fourth degree given by the school and the first ever to an African American.”
Read more about Lemuel Haynes here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh.
The Lemuel Haynes House on County Road 27 in Granville, near the Vermont/New York state line, is privately owned and generally not open to the public, but drivers can pass by it on the way to more stops on the Vermont Author Adventures Trail. To see a video about a marker where the church Lemuel Haynes once pastored once stood, click here: https://vermonthistory.org/lemuel-haynes. It is near Pleasant Street Cemetery in West Rutland.