A Mysterious Life and Calling: From Slavery to Ministry in South Carolina (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography)

 
9780299306748: A Mysterious Life and Calling: From Slavery to Ministry in South Carolina (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography)
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Preacher, teacher, and postmistress, Charlotte Levy Riley was born into slavery but became a popular evangelist after emancipation. Although several nineteenth-century accounts by black preaching women in the northern states are known, this is the first discovery of such a memoir in the South.
            Born in 1839 in Charleston, South Carolina, Riley was taught to read, write, and sew despite laws forbidding black literacy. Raised a Presbyterian, she writes of her conversion at age fourteen to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, embracing its ecstatic worship and led by her own spiritual visions. Her memoir is revelatory on many counts, including life in urban Charleston before and after emancipation, her work as a preacher at multiracial revivals, the rise of African American civil servants in the Reconstruction era, and her education and development as a licensed female minister in a patriarchal church.
            Crystal J. Lucky, who discovered Riley’s forgotten book in the library archives at Wilberforce University in Ohio, provides an introduction and notes on events, society, and religious practice in the antebellum era and during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and places A Mysterious Life and Calling in the context of other spiritual autobiographies and slave narratives.

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About the Author:

Crystal J. Lucky is associate professor of English and director of the Africana Studies Program at Villanova University. She is also an ordained elder and official in the Church of the Living God International.

Review:

A Mysterious Life and Calling shifts and revises what we thought we knew about black (women’s) autobiography, antebellum autobiography, spiritual and conversion texts, slavery narratives, and South Carolina history.” —Joycelyn Moody, from the foreword

“Riley’s autobiography is a genuine discovery in areas that are being widely read and taught: women’s spiritual autobiography, African American autobiography, and the history of the slave narrative in North America. This is an extraordinary contribution to American letters.”—William L. Andrews, series editor


“[Crystal] Lucky has truly uncovered a gem with this autobiography of Charlotte S. Riley, a former slave who became a reverend in the African Methodist Episcopal church after emancipation. . . . An important, informative achievement.”—Publishers Weekly

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Riley, Charlotte S.
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Charlotte Riley
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Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A rare discovery, A Mysterious Life and Calling is the autobiography of Charlotte Levy Riley, who was born into slavery but after emancipation achieved a fulfilling career as a preacher in the South Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, schoolteacher, and civil servant. Although several nineteenth-century accounts by black preaching women in the northern states are known, this is the first memoir by a black woman preaching in the South, both before and after the Civil War, to be discovered.Born in 1839, Charlotte Riley recounts her unusual experiences growing up as a young slave girl in Charleston under the protection of her parents and the dominion of her wealthy owners. She was taught to read, write, and sew, despite laws forbidding black literacy, and while still a slave married a free black architect. Raised a Presbyterian, she writes in her memoir of her conversion at age fourteen to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, embracing its ecstatic worship and led by her own spiritual visions. After the war, she separated permanently from her husband, who objected to her call to preach, and despite poor health pursued a career into the early twentieth century as a licensed minister of the AME church, a powerful preacher at multiracial revivals, and a school teacher and principal. She contributed to the civic development of South Carolina in the post-Reconstruction era and early twentieth century, including appointment in 1885 as postmistress of Lincolnville, an all-black incorporated town in South Carolina. She published her autobiography around 1902.Crystal J. Lucky discovered Riley s forgotten book in the archives of the Stokes Library at the historically black Wilberforce University in Ohio. She provides an introduction and notes to the narrative, explaining Riley s references to contemporaries, events, society, and religious practice throughout her childhood and the turbulent years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Lucky also places A Mysterious Life and Calling in the context of other spiritual autobiographies and slave narratives. Seller Inventory # AAS9780299306748

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Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A rare discovery, A Mysterious Life and Calling is the autobiography of Charlotte Levy Riley, who was born into slavery but after emancipation achieved a fulfilling career as a preacher in the South Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, schoolteacher, and civil servant. Although several nineteenth-century accounts by black preaching women in the northern states are known, this is the first memoir by a black woman preaching in the South, both before and after the Civil War, to be discovered.Born in 1839, Charlotte Riley recounts her unusual experiences growing up as a young slave girl in Charleston under the protection of her parents and the dominion of her wealthy owners. She was taught to read, write, and sew, despite laws forbidding black literacy, and while still a slave married a free black architect. Raised a Presbyterian, she writes in her memoir of her conversion at age fourteen to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, embracing its ecstatic worship and led by her own spiritual visions. After the war, she separated permanently from her husband, who objected to her call to preach, and despite poor health pursued a career into the early twentieth century as a licensed minister of the AME church, a powerful preacher at multiracial revivals, and a school teacher and principal. She contributed to the civic development of South Carolina in the post-Reconstruction era and early twentieth century, including appointment in 1885 as postmistress of Lincolnville, an all-black incorporated town in South Carolina. She published her autobiography around 1902.Crystal J. Lucky discovered Riley s forgotten book in the archives of the Stokes Library at the historically black Wilberforce University in Ohio. She provides an introduction and notes to the narrative, explaining Riley s references to contemporaries, events, society, and religious practice throughout her childhood and the turbulent years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Lucky also places A Mysterious Life and Calling in the context of other spiritual autobiographies and slave narratives. Seller Inventory # AAS9780299306748

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Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A rare discovery, A Mysterious Life and Calling is the autobiography of Charlotte Levy Riley, who was born into slavery but after emancipation achieved a fulfilling career as a preacher in the South Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, schoolteacher, and civil servant. Although several nineteenth-century accounts by black preaching women in the northern states are known, this is the first memoir by a black woman preaching in the South, both before and after the Civil War, to be discovered.Born in 1839, Charlotte Riley recounts her unusual experiences growing up as a young slave girl in Charleston under the protection of her parents and the dominion of her wealthy owners. She was taught to read, write, and sew, despite laws forbidding black literacy, and while still a slave married a free black architect. Raised a Presbyterian, she writes in her memoir of her conversion at age fourteen to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, embracing its ecstatic worship and led by her own spiritual visions. After the war, she separated permanently from her husband, who objected to her call to preach, and despite poor health pursued a career into the early twentieth century as a licensed minister of the AME church, a powerful preacher at multiracial revivals, and a school teacher and principal. She contributed to the civic development of South Carolina in the post-Reconstruction era and early twentieth century, including appointment in 1885 as postmistress of Lincolnville, an all-black incorporated town in South Carolina. She published her autobiography around 1902.Crystal J. Lucky discovered Riley s forgotten book in the archives of the Stokes Library at the historically black Wilberforce University in Ohio. She provides an introduction and notes to the narrative, explaining Riley s references to contemporaries, events, society, and religious practice throughout her childhood and the turbulent years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Lucky also places A Mysterious Life and Calling in the context of other spiritual autobiographies and slave narratives. Seller Inventory # BTE9780299306748

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Reverend Mrs. Charlotte S. Riley, Edited with an introduction by Crystal J. Lucky, Foreword by Joycelyn K. Moody
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