Tray Depicting Reverend Lemuel Haynes
Unknown artist, Probably; American
Tray Depicting Reverend Lemuel Haynes, ca. 1835-1840
Oil paint on papier-mâché
53.2 x 65.3 x 10.2 cm (20 15/16 x 25 11/16 x 4 inches)
Bequest of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich 39.002
This tray depicts the Reverend Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), the first ordained African American minister in America, delivering an impassioned sermon to the all-white congregation of a Congregational church. His sermons extolled freedom and independence, and his later-discovered writings condemned the oppressive and immoral system of slavery in America.
Prior to his life in the church, Haynes served in the American Revolution in both the militia and the army. In 1804 he was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from Middlebury College, becoming the first African American to receive such recognition.