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Note: Amelia was a slave woman confirmed at the very first confirmation of Saint George’s Church, Flushing, N.Y. in 1802. The parish hall has been named Amelia Hall in honor of her memory.

June 28th, 1802
And Amelia – Slave to Mr. Rosewalt
is confirmed at old Saint George’s Church.

In the eyes of God
She is free!
In the eyes of the law
She is slave to Mr. Rosewalt.

Who was Amelia? Did she ever gain her freedom?
How did the congregants in a sea of White faces
At old Saint George’s Church
respond to this Black woman,
Slave to Mr. Rosewalt?

It was the first Confirmation ever
In the Village of Flushing.
Was it a sign of things to come?
Was it a sign that God’s Kingdom was moving forward?

Who was Amelia, the woman,
the servant of God
Who stood proud that day
and professed her faith in the God of freedom?
Who was that Black face in a sea of White?

We don’t know her fate,
but we trust that she shines bright in the light of God
in that place in the sky
where slavery never was.

We celebrate Amelia,
as she looks down upon old Saint George’s Church,
and she weeps tears of joy
singing Glory Hallelujah
for today we are a multitude of nations,
Father Abraham’s vision come true,
a kaleidoscope of color
Black, White, Yellow, Brown,
all of us free, none of us slaves!

God’s peace upon Amelia,
No longer Slave
to Mr. Rosewalt…

© Wilfredo Benitez. 11/12/13

This entry was posted in Poetry.

One comment on “Amelia

  1. The Parish Register from 1702 to 1898 recorded Amelia in the first confirmation service ever held at historic Saint George’s Church. She had no family name, she was simply registered as “Ameila, slave to Mr. Rosewalt.” Saint George’s is today a parish of mostly people of color who worship in English, Chinese, and Spanish!

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