Teague, Colin [Collin Teage] (c. 1780-1839)
Pioneer African American Baptist missionary to Africa
Born a slave in Virginia, Teague was a saddler and harness maker who saved enough ($1,300) to purchase his freedom and that of his wife and two children. He had virtually no formal education but was regarded as a man of sound judgment and exemplary piety. Both he and Lott Carey, who consistently overshadowed him, began preaching well before the two of them led in the founding of the Richmond African Missionary Society in 1815. Four years later, in 1819, Teague and Carey were appointed by the Baptist Triennial Convention in cooperation with the American Colonization Society as missionary colonists to West Africa. Before leaving the United States in 1821, Teague and Carey were ordained, and together with their wives, Teague’s 16-year-old son Hilary, and a third couple, they organized themselves into a Baptist church, naming Carey as pastor. Reaching Africa 44 days later, the colonists were forced by circumstances to wait and do manual labor for a time in Sierra Leone, but they finally established themselves in Liberia in February 1822. Shortly thereafter Teague and his family returned to Sierra Leone, where they remained until after Carey’s accidental death in 1828. Returning to Monrovia, Liberia, Teague became co-pastor of the Providence Baptist Church. His son Hilary later became a renowned Liberian pastor and preacher, political leader, and newspaper editor. Like Carey, Teague regarded the colonization efforts as God’s design to carry the gospel to Africa, a means to establish Christian communities in a heathen wilderness and convert the indigenous inhabitants to the Christian faith. Teague died on ship enroute to the United States.
Alan Neely, “Teague, Colin,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 660.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998. Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Fisher, Miles Mark. “Lott Carey: The Colonizing Missionary.” Journal of Negro History 7 (1922): 380-418.
Jacobs, Sylvia M., ed. Black Americans and the Missionary Movement in Africa. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1982.
Wiley, Bell Irvin. Slaves No More: Letters from Liberia, 1833-1869. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1980.
Diane Severance has written a biographical sketch of Lott Carey that includes information on Colin Teague.