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Dexter, James Oronoko  

Susan B. Iwanisziw

activist, was named Oronoco (variously spelled Oronoke, Oranque, or Oronogue) in the earliest documents that record his early life as a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, slave. In 1749 he was inherited upon the death of his master, Henry Dexter, by Dexter's son, James. When James died in debt in 1767, the trustees of the estate freed Oronoco for the price of £100. In his manumission papers he is identified as “Oronoko royal Slave,” presumably an allusion to the African prince in Aphra Behn's novella Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave (1688) or in Thomas Southerne's dramatic transformation of the story entitled Oroonoko, a Tragedy (1696 which remained one of the most popular dramas staged in Britain throughout the eighteenth century If he was indeed born into African royalty Oronoco nevertheless changed his name upon gaining his freedom and he is usually noted in ...


Lee, Jarena  

Jualynne E. Dodson

preacher and evangelist, was born in Cape May, New Jersey. She was not born a slave, but little is known about her family. They were obviously poor enough that at the age of seven Lee was hired out as a live-in maid to a family that lived some sixty miles from her home. She had a religious awakening in 1804, and several years later she recounts achieving rebirth to a life free of sin and focused on spiritual perfection. Each of these spiritual transformations occurred after Lee had experienced physical hardships. Her autobiography describes a long and laborious struggle that led her to the conviction that she should preach. In 1836 she published an autobiographical narrative, The Life and Religious Experiences of Jarena Lee. The narrative was reprinted in 1839, and in 1849 she produced an expanded version under the title Religious Experiences and Journal of ...