How Can I Help?
I have been wondering about what contribution I can make to racial reconciliation in my home country. There are a lot of things I could say or do and opinions I could offer. But, I think I will offer to you the life and story of George Liele.
At the start of the pandemic (before racial reconciliation was a hot button topic), I thought, “I can finally read some books about George Liele.” And, I did. I have now read six books that are about him in all or in part.
George Liele (also sometimes spelled Lisle) was an enslaved African American who left America as a refugee and ended up planting many churches in Jamaica. He has been a hero of mine for a while (you might have heard me tell his story at Perspectives!), but I haven’t known the full details of his story.
I recorded a chapter from, “Free Indeed: Heroes of Black Christian History,” by Mark Sidwell. Click here to listen to this chapter about George Liele.
I will also share with you what books I read, so you can maybe purchase one of them and learn too. Learning is always a great way to grow, and you will also find some other new heroes in these same books!
Good Books to Read About George Liele
“Profiles of African American Missionaries,” edited by Robert J. Steven and Bryan Johnson
This book also has relatively short articles on many different people. Much of the information of George Liele in this book came from the Sidwell book above. I have given this book away many times! Published by the same people who put out the Perspectives curriculum.
“Pioneer Preachers in Paradise,” by Alfred Lane Hugh
This book is harder to come by as it is self printed. It is actually about three different preachers in the Caribbean, of which Liele is one of them. This book achieves the best balance between being neither too short nor too long about Liele. It is well researched but easy to read and still personable.
“George Liele’s Life and Legacy: An Unsung Hero,” edited by David T. Shannon
This was actually the first book I read, but the articles can be a bit overly scholarly for most. And, even the scholarship felt a bit lacking to me from time to time. Most other books now refer to this one. So, still worth reading.
“African-American Experience in World Missions: A Call Beyond Community,” edited by Vaughn J. Walston and Robert Stevens
This book really only mentions George Liele in passing, but it will help fill out context for his story and for where we are today. Maybe you’ll begin to pray for African-American missionaries to go forth!
“Freedom in Jamaica: Some Chapters in the Story of the Baptist Missionary Society”, by Ernest A. Payne
This book is super old (1933 originally and then reprinted in 1946) and only mentions Liele in passing, but it puts him in the greater context of the other missionary work in Jamaica and in the abolitionist movement of England.