Lemuel W. Boone.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
LEMUEL WASHINGTON BOONE (1827-1878) was a leader of African American Baptists in North Carolina during the Reconstruction era. In 1866, he organized on Roanoke Island the East Roanoke Association, the first black Baptist association in the state. The following year, he moderated the organizational meeting of the General Association of the Colored Baptists of North Carolina, the first statewide black Baptist association and the direct forerunner of the present-day General Baptist Convention of North Carolina. Praised by Carter Woodson as a “preacher of power,” Boone is said to have “possessed a gift of oratory and mental ability seldom excelled by men of the best opportunities.”
Boone, born free in Northampton County, worked as a brickmason and teacher preceding the Civil War. After moving to Hertford County, he organized twenty churches with over 3,000 members in the area. The inaugural meeting of the statewide Baptist organization took place in 1867 in Goldsboro and was timed to coincide with the white annual Baptist State Convention from whose members they received counsel and support.
Boone sought a reconciliation between white and black Baptists and opposed a rule requiring that white churches dismiss former slaves who ran away to join the Union army and served as one of seven original trustees of Shaw University. At his death in 1878, the minutes of his association recorded that “it is safe to say that from his ordination till his death, no person in eastern North Carolina exerted a wider and more lasting influence among his people than Elder Boone.” In 1913, a monument was erected at his grave.
Adapted from http://www.ncmarkers.com.