Born On This Day ~ February 11 ~ Jarena Lee ~ First Female Preacher of The African Methodist Episcopal Church

Born: February 11, 1783 (Cape May, New Jersey
Died: 1855

Famous For/Known For:
First female preacher of The African Methodist Episcopal Church.

A Little About Jarena Lee:
Born in Cape May, New Jersey to a poor but free black family. Her maiden name is unknown. Lee became a live-in servant at the age of 7.

In 1807, Lee heard the voice of God instructing her that she should preach the Gospel.

Sometime in her teens Lee decided to attend a church service at the Bethel Church. While listening to the Bishop Richard Allen preach she became overwhelmed with the feeling of the Holy Spirit and converted to Christianity.

In 1811 Lee married Pastor Joseph Lee. Seven years later Pastor Lee died, leaving her to raise two children alone.

In 1819, a guest preacher at church found himself at a loss for words during a sermon. Lee stood up and continued the sermon. The Bishop was so impressed with Lee’s preaching abilities that he allowed her to officially preach the Gospel.

Lee first preached throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvanian, and New York. She then began traveling thousands of miles by foot to preach the word of God.

In 1836 she joined the abolitionist group,The American Antislavery Society. A main speaker at these meetings was an escaped slave, Fredric Douglass.

In 1846 Lee completed her autobiography in which she shares her ministry experiences. The title of this book is,  The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee.

Lee’s exact date of death cannot be confirmed although the African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery records, where she has been laid to rest, indicate 1855.

Jarena Lee’s is thought to have died in 1855 which would have made her 72 at the time of death.

Books About/Written By Jerena Lee:

Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee, Giving an Account of Her Call to Preach the Gospel

Religious Experiences and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee: A Preachin’ Woman

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Jarena Lee (1783–185?)


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