This Place in History: Lemuel Haynes


3 3 AMANDA : AT THIS PLACE IN HISTORY, WE’RE IN WEST RUTLAND WITH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY STEVE PERKINS. WHAT BRINGS US HERE TO THIS CEMETERY TODAY? STEVE: WE ARE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING VERMONTERS.AMANDA: WHO IS IT?STEVE: LEMUEL HAYNES. HE WAS A MINISTER, A WRITER, A GREAT THINKER AND HE PREACHED RIGHT HERE IN RUTLAND FOR 30 YEARS. HE WASN’T BORN IN VERMONT, BUT WE’LL CLAIM HIM. AMANDA: THAT NAME SOUNDS VERY FAMILIAR TO ME. I’M GUESSING HE’S A FAMOUS GUY.STEVE: HE IS FAMOUS AND WHAT I FIND FASCINATING IS THAT THERE HAVEN’T BEEN A LOT OF BIOGRAPHIES WRITTEN ABOUT HIM, BUT HE HAD SO MANY FIRSTS. HE WAS AN AFRICAN AMERICAN. HE WAS BORN IN CONNECTICUT TO A BLACK FATHER AND A WHITE MOTHER. NOT A LOT IS KNOWN ABOUT THAT EARLY CHILDHOOD AND HE ENDED UP BEING INDETURED OUT AND RAISED AS AN INDENTURED SERVANT IN CONNECTICUT. HE ULTIMATELY FOUND A CALLING FOR EDUCATION AND A GOOD WAY TO GET AN EDUCATION WAS TO ENTER THE CHURCH AND TRAIN TOWARDS THE CHURCH. HE TRAINED TO BE A MINISTER AND LEARNED OTHER LANGUAGES. HE ENDED UP BECOMING ORDAINED IN 1785 AND SO THIS IS VERY, VERY EARLY. HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST, IF NOT THE FIRST, AFRICAN AMERICANS TO BE ORDAINED INTO THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN THE STATES. BUT EVEN BEFORE THAT, HE HAD A ROLE IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. HE FOUGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS. HE WAS STATIONED IN FORT TICONDEROGA. IN 1776, HE WROTE AN ESSAY CALLED LIBERTY EXTENDED WHICH WAS ONE OF THE FIRST, PROBABLY AGAIN THE FIRST, PIECE WRITTEN ABOUT WHY SLAVERY WAS HORRIBLE AND WHY WE SHOULDN’T HAVE SLAVERY AND WRITTEN BY AN AFRICAN AMERICAN. AMANDA: SO WHAT WAS HIS TIE TO THIS SPOT IN PARTICULAR THEN?STEVE: HE TOOK OVER THE WEST RUTLAND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN 1787 AND HE STAYED HERE FOR 30 YEARS, PREACHING TO THIS COMMUNITY. AGAIN, AS YOU CAN IMAGINE IT WAS VERMONT AND AT THE TIME IT WAS A LARGELY WHITE COMMUNITY. HE LED THAT WHOLE CONGREGATION. AND THIS WAS A HOTBED BY THE 18 TEENS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH BREAKING UP INTO DIFFERENT MODES OF THOUGHT. AND WE HAD SOMETHING CALLED UNIVERESALISM AND UNITARIANISM. WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THIS IN OTHER PROGRAMS. HE WAS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT AND HE WROTE A NUMBER OF BOOKS THAT RECEIVED WORLDWIDE PUBLICATION ARGUING FOR WHAT’S CALLED THE OLDER, MORE CONSERVATIVE VIEW OF CONGREGATIONALISM. ULTIMATELY, HIS CONSERVATIVE VIEWS TOWARDS THE CHURCH ENDED UP WITH HIM PARTING WAYS FROM WEST RUTLAND. HE MOVED DOWN TO MANCHESTER, VT AND THEN TO GRANVILLE, NY WHERE HE LIVED OUT THE REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE. I FEEL LIKE HE WAS CERTAINLY CELEBRATED IN HIS TIME AND SHORTLY AFTER HIS DEATH. THERE WAS A BOOKLENGTH BIOGRAPHY WRITTEN ABOUT HIM IN THE 1830S AND IF YOU CAN IMAGINE A BOOKLENGTH BIOGRAPHY WRITTEN ABOUT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN THINKER IN THE 1830S, THAT’S PRETTY AMAZING. AFRICAN AMERICAN TO RECEIVE AN DEGREE. HE RECEIVED A FROM MIDDLEBURY SO VERY WELL AND THEN I THINK THIS SYSTEMIC PART OF OUR HISTORICAL PEOPLE DIDN’T REALLY WRITE UNTIL RECENTLY. ARE STARTING TO WRITE ABOUT

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