Leonard Black (8 March 1820-28 April 1883) is the author of the slave narrative, The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black, a Fugitive from Slavery (1847). He was born enslaved in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This narrative recounts his escape in 1837. After his arrival in the North, he became interested in the ministry and involved with George H. Black, a Baptist minister, whose daughter he married. Black attended theological school with assistance from the president of Brown University and possibly with the proceeds of his narrative. Toward the end of his life, Black moved to Virginia where in 1873 he was made pastor of the First Baptist Church, also know as Harrison Street Church, in Petersburg. He was successful in doubling the church’s membership during his time there. Black’s death on April 28, 1883 was followed by one of the largest funerals ever held in the city. More than five thousand people overflowed the church service and lined the streets to the cemetery. In the following months funds were raised for a stone monument with a bas-relief portrait to mark Black’s burial site in the African-American cemetery now known as People’s Memorial Cemetery.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: People's Memorial Cemetery, 334 South Crater Road, Petersburg, 23803
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: B. David Canada
Location Type: Site
UGRR Operatives: Rev. Leonard A. Black