Carey, Lott

   early African-American foreign missionary
   Lott Carey, the second African American to serve as a foreign missionary, was born in 1780 as a slave in rural Virginia on a farm 30 miles from Richmond. Though his parents were members of the local Baptist church, young Lott did not take to religion. Carey was hired out to work in a tobacco warehouse in Richmond. While there in 1807, he was converted and joined the local Baptist church. He learned to read, which allowed him to improve his position at the warehouse and eventually led to his being licensed by the church to preach.
   Carey married and had two children, though his wife died in 1813. Over the next years, with money he saved from his work, he purchased his and his children's freedom, bought a home, and saw to his children's education. He also became one of the organizers of the Richmond African Missionary Society, dedicated to raising support for missionary activity in Africa. The society, in cooperation with the Triennial Convention (the recently organized national association of BAPTISTS) and the American Colonization Society, selected Carey and Collin Teague as their first missionaries to Africa.
   Before leaving, Carey, Teague, and their families formally organized the First Baptist Church.
   The group sailed for Africa in 1821. Lott's second wife died soon after they landed in Sierra Leone. In 1822, Carey moved to Monrovia, Liberia, where the Baptist church organized in Richmond became a reality. Today, it continues as the Providence Baptist Church. Carey worked primarily in the town with repatriated former slaves, but he also reached out to native Liberians in the surrounding countryside. He founded a weekday school in Monrovia and a second one in Big Town in the Cape Mount region.
   Carey was eventually named vice agent for Liberia, responsible for the needs of the former slaves who were swelling the colony's population. Many of the new residents were Africans recently captured for the slave trade and then released.
   In 1828, Carey became temporary head of the colony, but was killed in an accident in the munitions depot. He died on November 10, 1828.
   In the years after the Civil War, African-American Baptists established the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missionary Convention, in memory of his pioneering efforts. The convention continues to focus the missionary efforts of African-American Baptists.
   See also Liberia.
   Further reading:
   ■ Miles Mark Fisher, "Lott Carey, The Colonizing Missionary," Journal of Negro History 7, 4 (October 1922): 380-418.
   ■ Leroy Fitts, Lott Carey: The First Black Missionary to Africa (Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson Press, 1978)
   ■ ----, The Lott Carey Legacy of African American Missions (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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