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*The birth of George Leile is celebrated on this date in 1750. He was a Black minister.
Named after his master, he was born a slave on the plantation of Mr. Leile in the State of Virginia. Early in his life, speculators brought him to Georgia and sold him to Henry Sharpe of Kiokee, GA, in Burke County, a deacon of the local Baptist Church. Early in 1773, young Leile heard a sermon that changed his life, and after months of deep meditation and prayer, he converted to the Baptist faith and began to preach the gospel. Leile succeeded in his ministry to the slaves, and Deacon Sharpe had him connect himself with the White church of Kiokee.
The church then granted him a license, and Deacon Sharpe gave him liberty to go from plantation to plantation up and down the Savannah River. Everywhere he went, both races heard him with rewarding results. He was ordained on May 20, 1775, and is often given credit for founding the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, the oldest Black Church in North America. Leile was forced to leave Savannah because his master had remained loyal to the British, leaving Georgia when Colonial forces re-established control after the Revolutionary War.
He was taken to Jamaica, where he established another African American congregation numbering more than 300 people. George Leile died in 1782.
AFRICAN AMERICAN PEOPLE IN THE METHODIST CHURCH:
Whither Thou Goest (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984) and Ralph H. Jones, CHARLES ALBERT TINDLEY:
Prince of Preachers (Nashville: 1982).
The Charles Albert Tindley Institute,
Tindley Temple United Methodist Church,
750-762 Charles Albert Tindley Boulevard (South Broad Street), Philadelphia, PA 19146,