African-American Christians in Colonial America

What was Black Harry’s relationship to Francis Asbury?

Harry Hosier, or “Black Harry,” met Francis Asbury, the founder of American Methodism, around 1780, a meeting that Asbury called “providentially arranged.” When Asbury went to Todd, North Carolina, near that time, he may have encountered Hosier. Hosier became a servant and guide to Asbury, while at the same time becoming a circuit-riding preacher. In 1784 and again in 1786, Asbury arranged a preaching tour through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia to introduce Thomas Coke to the work of the Methodists. Coke came to America as John Wesley’s representative. After hearing Hosier preach, Coke wrote in his journal that he believed Hosier was one of the best preachers in the world and that he was also one of the humblest people he ever saw. The first tour ended in time for the Christmas Conference in Baltimore’s Lovely Lane Chapel from December 24 to January 2, 1785. It was here that the Methodist Episcopal Church was formally established in America. This also established a permanent relationship between black and white Methodists. Hosier was present at the historic conference. After being cleared of an erroneous charge against him in 1791, Hosier fell from grace in the church. He was then excluded from the group of black Methodist preachers, including Richard Allen, who were ordained around 1799.


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