Jarena Lee, first female AME Church preacher, born - February 11, 1783
This week marks the anniversary of when Jarena Lee, the first African-American woman ordained to ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born.
The child of free black parents in Cape May, New Jersey, Lee was baptized in 1807 into the AME Church and given authorization to preach in 1819, at a time when churches largely opposed women preachers, black or white.
“Reverend Lee was a true itinerant evangelist,” explained the AME Church’s Social Action Commission. “She proclaimed the Gospel extensively throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada, traveling more than 2,800 by foot preaching more than 692 sermons.”