Jarena Lee (1783-unknown)
Courtesy, Library Company of Philadelphia.


The drawing of Jarena Lee shows her in 1843, at the age of 60. Lee was born in Cape May to free African American parents. Lee experienced a dramatic conversion experience when she was 21, but it was not until after she had married, had several children, and been widowed that she became an exhorter in the African Methodist Episcopal church. Lee’s autobiography, The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee…(1836) tells about her preaching in several southern New Jersey communities.