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Fri, 09.03.1773

Thomas Paul, Minister, born

Thomas Paul

*Thomas Paul was born on this date in 1773. He was a Black Baptist minister.

Paul was born in the town of Exeter in Rockingham County, New Hampshire. He attended the Free Will Society Academy with two of his brothers. He then pursued the ministry in Hollis, New Hampshire, at the Free Will Baptist Church. He was baptized and ordained in West Nottingham Meetinghouse in 1804.

He married Catherine Waterhouse from Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 5, 1805. Shortly after their marriage, they had three children and moved to Boston. After moving to Boston, Paul and his family became members of the First Baptist Church. Following conflicts with white members, Paul met on August 8, 1805, with twenty other black congregational members to discuss how to organize the new church.

The First African Baptist Church was built with congregational help. Shortly after its construction, on December 4, 1806, he became the first pastor. Paul oversaw the church charter and baptized over a hundred people in his time as pastor. He also helped establish black Baptist churches across America. He attended many congregations and preached to large groups. In 1808, the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York was founded. His brother, Benjamin Paul, became their minister.

In 1815, Paul traveled to England, meeting William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson about black emigration to Haiti. After this experience, he became a strong opponent of colonization. Paul contributed to the development of black Liberation Theology by tying biblical teachings to social justice and the quest for equal black acceptance in society. He was a member of the African Grand Lodge no. 459, later known as Prince Hall Mason. Paul was opposed to integrated education as he believed that black children would receive a better education in classrooms taught by black instructors with other black children.

Paul served the African Baptist Church from 1805 to 1829. He died two years later, on April 13, 1831, in Boston, Massachusetts, from tuberculosis.

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