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Sarah E. Gorham
1832 to 1894
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
Liberia

Sarah Gorham was an African American missionary of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. She was born either in Fredericktown, Maryland, or Fredericksburg, Virginia. Little is known of her life before 1880, when she visited relatives who had immigrated to Liberia. She spent a year traveling throughout the country and preaching and comforting the needy. It was on this trip that she became interested in mission work. She returned to the United States, but in 1888 she offered her services to the AME Church as a missionary. At the age of 56 she became the first single woman AME missionary appointed to a foreign field. She was supported by the Ohio conference. After her arrival in Sierra Leone, she was stationed at Magbele, one of the leading AME missions in the country, where she worked among the Temne women and girls. At Magbele she established the Sarah Gorham Mission School, which gave both religious and industrial training. In July 1894 she was bedridden with malaria and died the next month. She was buried in Kissy Road (now Street) Cemetery in Freetown.

Sylvia M. Jacobs


Bibliography:

Lewellyn L. Berry, A Century of Missions of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1840-1940 (1942); Rosemary Skinner Keller, Louise L. Queen, and Hilah F. Thomas, eds., Women in New Worlds (1982).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.