Peter Williams Cassey lighter

Peter Williams Cassey became a fourth-generation freedman when his great-grandfather, who founded the first Black church in New York City (A.M.E. Zion) bought him out of slavery in Philadelphia; his parents were prominent abolitionists. He was fluent in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, but trained as a barber and moved to San Francisco in 1853, then to San José, where he organized an abolitionist group to buy slaves and help them get to Oregon. He and his wife Annie were founding members of Trinity, San José and organizers of St. Philip’s Mission for Colored People. He was ordained a deacon by the Bishop of California in 1866, but was prevented from becoming a priest by a racist diocesan policy at the time. He later became the first Black rector in North Carolina before accepting a call to three parishes in Florida in 1884. (satucket)

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