Betsey Stockton was born into slavery in 1798. She grew up in the home of Reverend Ashbel Green, who served as the president of Princeton College. Betsey was given access to education and taught herself many subjects.


After expressing a desire to be a missionary, Betsey Stockton was freed from slavery. She traveled with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and joined a small group headed to the Sandwich Islands (now known as the Hawaiian Islands). In 1822, Betsey left New Jersey and spent five months traveling to Maui, the only single woman and only woman of color in the group.


After arriving in Lahaina, Maui, the missionary efforts were focused on sharing the gospel with the local people. A school was set up for the children of the missionaries and the children of the local chiefs. Betsey firmly believed education should be available for all children, so she soon opened a missionary school where all children were welcome. Betsey had no formal educational training, but she was gifted at teaching. She taught the children many subjects, including history, math, English, and Latin. 


Though Betsey was only in Maui about four years, she did not stop educating children and spreading the gospel after her return to the American Northeast. She also spent time in Canada, educating Native American children and sharing Christ with them. Toward the end of her life she opened a school in Philadelphia for black children.


Betsey spent her life educating those the world deemed undesirable. She cared for those who were overlooked, believing everyone deserved an opportunity to learn. Her life reminds us to stand up for those the world often sees as unworthy and to step out in faith using the gifts in us to serve Christ.


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Melissa Fuller

Melissa Fuller

Melissa loves God’s Word and is committed to helping women fall in love with Scripture (and its author!). She has a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and served as the general editor of the NET Love God Greatly Bible and the managing editor of the CSB She Reads Truth Bible and the CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA, loves running and hiking and is currently pursuing her goal of visiting all the National Parks in the US!

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