Black’s Religious Life
Leonard Black’s religious career began when he was asked to officiate at the Reverend Mr. Ashur’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island. He moved his family to the area soon after, applying to be a preacher. He was denied. He worked difficult, hard labor jobs, one that ended up causing him serious injury. An accident broke his leg, and afterwards he said, “[I]t is better to have a broken leg in the land of freedom, than to have sound limbs under the curse of slavery.”
After he recovered, Black began to preach while traveling. He stayed in Nantucket for a time, preaching and writing his autobiography, The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black: A Fugitive from Slavery. He published the book hoping that the proceeds would help fund his higher education.
In 1850, Black became the pastor of the Third Baptist Church in Stonington, Connecticut. He moves a year later to be pastor of the Concord Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, then to the Third Baptist Church in East Brooklyn. After a brief period of travel in Europe, Black starts preaching in New Haven, Connecticut.
Another move in 1871 takes Black to Norfolk, Virginia to be the pastor of the First Baptist Church. In 1873, Black became the pastor of Harrison Street Church in Petersburg, Virginia.
Black fell ill in October of 1882. A year later, in February 1883, he was elected chairman of the State Mission Board of the Virginia Baptist State Convention. Two months later Black died of Bright’s disease in Petersburg, Virginia.