Henry Highland Garnet. Jamaica, Liberia, New York & Pittsburgh. Served 1842 – 1882

Henry Highland Garnet. Born into slavery in Maryland in 1815, Garnet and his family escaped to New York City when he was nine years old.  In New York City, Garnet attended the African Free School. In the 1830s, Garnet continued his education at several institutions. He eventually ended up at the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York where he finished his studies in 1840.  He became a Presbyterian minister and served as the first pastor of the Liberty Street Negro Presbyterian Church in Troy, New York, beginning in 1842.

His “Call to Rebellion” speech in 1843 encouraged slaves to rebel against their owners.  In 1850, Garnet traveled to England and Scotland where he spoke widely against the practice of slavery. He also supported allowing blacks to emigrate to other lands, such as Liberia in Africa, a country made up mostly of freed slaves. In 1852, Garnet traveled to Jamaica to serve as a missionary.  Ill health forced his return to the U.S. in 1855 where he continued his work in the abolitionist movement. In 1856, he begin to serve as pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.

On February 12, 1865, while in Washington, Garnet made history when he was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to speak to the House of Representatives—making him the first African American to preach a sermon in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1868, Garnet was appointed president of Avery College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Later he returned to New York City as a pastor at the Shiloh Presbyterian Church (formerly the First Colored Presbyterian Church, and now St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem).  

Fulfilling a longtime dream, Garnet traveled to Africa in 1881 where he was appointed as the U.S. Minister to Liberia.  He died in 1882, a few months after his arrival.  Garnet was given a state funeral by the Liberian government and was buried at Palm Grove Cemetery in Monrovia.

The humblest peasant is as free in the sight of God as the proudest monarch that ever swayed a sceptre. Liberty is a spirit sent from God and like its great Author is no respecter of persons.”  

Henry Highland Garnet

Serving Now

This is just a FEW of the currently serving African American Missionaries

Sublime and Rachel Mabiala

Sublime grew up in the Congo. Rachel was born in Detroit, Michigan. They met at Fuller Theological Seminary when they were both studying Missiology and International Development. Rachel’s grandmother prophesied that she would become a missionary when she was quite young; Later Rachel spent many summers on short term trips to Asia and Africa. Sublime carried a family legacy of ministry which was started by his grandfather, and served as a missionary in West Africa, the Arab world and in the USA. The Mabialas became WorldVenture missionaries in August 2017 and are on their way to teach Missiology and Business for Gospel movements within and from Cote d’Ivoire. Learn more about them: https://worldventure.com/pmissionary/4000-004-mabiala-sublime-and-rachel/



Leon and Melanie Best

Leon and Melanie met when in college and then married. They started the Impact Movement at Rice University. And then served at Impact National Headquarters in Orlando Florida. They were invited to serve in South Africa where they are helping to rebuild the campus movement. The Bests say “We have found Isaiah 58:12 to be so true: Your people will rebuild ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwelling.”


Coleman Family

Richard completed his MDiv at Oral Roberts University. He took a short term trip to Uganda while a student and answered his call to missions. While waiting to serve overseas Richard has served as missions director for New Birth Church in Atlanta, GA and he has also led the recruiting and mobilization for TMS with a great heart for recruiting African American people. He also serves on the board of Lausanne. Richard, Amanda and their children have moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he and his wife are helping to mobilize and train Ethiopians for cross cultural missions.


Senga Family

Jean is Congolese & Deborah grew up in Baltimore, MD. They met and married at Deborah’s home church in Maryland. In May 2008 Jean followed the call of God and went ahead of his family to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ministry has been powerful and productive. The Sengas have been in Congo for 10 years. They have started 3 churches and the Kinshasa Christian School. Their mission is: To equip, edify, train, and empower people in our communities by the power of the Holy Spirit, following the teachings, and the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the glory of our Father, the Eternal and living God.

Althea Brown Edmiston. Congo. Served 1902 – 1937

Althea was born in 1874 in Alabama. Her parents were emancipated from slavery, and she was raised on her father’s farm in Mississippi.

She attended Fisk University, graduated in 1901. Althea was commissioned as a missionary in 1901 by the Southern Presbyterian Church. She sailed for the Congo in 1902 and worked at a mission station run by William Henry Sheppard – another Black American Missionary.

In 1905 she married Alonzo Edmiston and they had two sons, both born in the Congo Region. Her husband was also a Black Missionary.

Altheas’s work was as a nurse and also in the area of linguistics. Her work was amazing because she did the linguistics work without any prior training. In the local Bushong language, she ensured that a a grammar and dictionary resource was published. Liturgical and educational materials were translated by Althea so that there was a small library printed for her students to read in their own language.

She passed away in 1937.

The book pictured is a great story of her life.

Eliza Davis George. Liberia. 1913 – 1917

Eliza Davis George served in Liberia, 1913 to 1972.

Eliza Davis George was born in 1879.  In December 1913 she left Texas for New York; and on December 12, 1913, she sailed from New York to Liberia as a National Baptist missionary.

Eliza and another missionary opened a school for children in the interior of Liberia, where there were few missionaries or churches. They called the school Bible Industrial Academy, and their aim was to teach children to read the Bible and show them helpful life skills. Within the first two years they had fifty children attending the academy and saw more than 1,000 people accept the Lord in the nearby villages.

Eliza served as an evangelist, teacher, and church planter throughout Sinoe County, Liberia. Wherever she established ministries, she trained Liberian young people and sent them as missionaries to take the Word of God to their own people and to provide education for their children.

Five years after arriving in Liberia, Eliza’s mission board disbanded. Lacking financial support, she was approached by a British missionary doctor who urged her to marry him so that she would be able to remain in Africa. After much prayer, she concluded that God was permitting her to marry, and in 1919, Eliza became the wife of Dr. Charles George. Together they adopted three children: Maude, Cecelia, and Cerella.

Even when married, Eliza continued to live meagerly, trusting in the Lord’s provision and going to extraordinary lengths to secure support for the ministry Jesus had called her to. Her prayer life reflected her dependence on God:

“O heavenly Father, thou hast taught us to pray for our daily bread. Lord, thou dost know that I do not have one penny to buy food and pay the workers here at the mission. Father, send us something to meet our needs as thou hast promised. Help me to keep trusting Thee so that the children will know Thou art caring for them.”

In 1939, her husband passed away – yet she continued in the work for 33 more years.  By the 1960s The Eliza Davis George Baptist Association had twenty-seven churches in Liberia.

Eliza returned to the USA in 1972 at the age of 93 due to fragile health.  She passed away in Tyler, TX in March 1980.

Louise (“Lulu”) Cecilia Fleming.Congo. Served from 1887 – 1899

Lulu was born 1862 as a slave in Florida. In 1887 she became a missionary teacher in Congo. The students were being introduced to Jesus because of Lulu’s ministry to them. The school had 49 students and many of them came to Christ through Lulu’s ministry to them.

This seems a poor report…and perhaps many may think the work almost discouraging, but to us whom God has given the privilege to labor here it is very encouraging. [It] fills us with unspeakable joy.

Lulu combined her teaching with weekend evangelistic work in the towns and within a year she had learned Kikongo and no longer required a translator. When Lulu saw that women needed to be reached, she began making home visits while urging the mission society (American Baptist Foreign Mission Society of the West) to send more women.

In 1891 Lulu return to the USA as a student at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, Lulu returned to the Congo in 1895 as a medical missionary.

Known now as Dr. Fleming, she was stationed at Irebu, further up the Congo River where she needed to learn a different language. The power of Dr. Fleming’s ministry came from her identification with those among whom she served. The Baptist Missionary Magazine described her as “particularly successful in winning the hearts of the Congo people, putting herself in close touch and sympathy with them.” She passed away in 1899 from complications from African sleeping sickness.