John Jea (born 1773) was an African-American slave, best known for his 1811 autobiography, The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher.
John Jea was born in Africa in 1773 near Calabar in the Bight of Biafra. He and his family were kidnapped by slave traders; when he was two-and-a-half years old he was sold into slavery in New York City along with his family, where they worked for a Dutch couple, Oliver and Angelika Triebuen. After learning to read the Bible, he was freed and eventually embarked on a journey to Boston, New Orleans, South America, and various European countries, where he worked as a preacher.
He later published his autobiography along with poems, making him one of the first African-American poets to have written an autobiography.
His autobiography was only rediscovered in 1983.
- The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher, 1811.
- Chambers, Douglas B. (2005). Murder at Montpelier, Pg. 185
- The Signifying Monkey, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Oxford University Press, hardcover, page 158
- The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher. Compiled and Written by Himself. Portsea, England: Author .