For African Americans in the South during the period of independence, the problem of national loyalty is one that forced many to closely examine where they stood on the spectrum of revolution. Most of the enslaved were not afforded the opportunity to choose between American Revolutionaries or British Loyalists, their lot was decided well before they were born into this world. Still, many Africans knew and understood their position as chattel and by extension understood the difference between being under the yoke of the Crown versus being a ward of the emerging American colonies. By extension, when given the choice, many African Americans, particularly those with any semblance of power and/or position, would choose the British Crown because it seemed to presented the enslaved with opportunities that would not exist for those enslaved by the American colonists. Appropriately, the life of David George is one that was defined by this push and pull of loyalties: the Crown, the Colonists or the Creator, which resulted in the development of an African American Baptist tradition that would return to the shores of Africa.
David George was born into enslavement in 1743 in Essex County, Virginia. At a young age George escaped the planation of his birth, and remained on the run within the Commonwealth until he migrated to the territory of South Carolina. In the Carolina territory he was captured by a Creek chief named Blue Salt who kept him as a prized commodity and worker. George eventually absconded from the Creek chief only to be recaptured by a Scottish trader named George Gauflin. The trader had a strong relationship with the Creek and was allowed to keep David George. As well, Gauflin had a number of enslaved Africans who had intermarried with the Creek, or were products of African-Creek intermarriage. One such woman, Phyllis, caught the eye of David George and eventually the two married in the late 1700s and started to develop their family.
Throughout the Atlantic coastal region of the South (Virginia, North/South Carolina and Georgia) the Baptist tradition was well established. George, by all accounts, founded the first African American congregation in the United States in Silver Bluff, South Carolina. The Silver Buff Baptist Church of South Carolina was developed through the efforts of David George and a white minister known simply as, Palmer. Albert Raboteau author of Slave Religion: The ‘Invisible Institution’ in the Antebellum South states: “This church owed its beginning to the preaching of a white Baptist minister named Palmer who preached to the slaved of one George Gauflin at Silver Buff.” Palmer was very invested in the religious education of the enslaved and converted eight African Americans to form the foundation of the Silver Buff church. In addition, he appointed George to the position of elder within the congregation. Further, the founding of this church was very impactful for African Americans in the South. Many of the enslaved became well acquainted with stories of the George’s church through traveling revivals and prayer meetings; it is therefore highly likely that David George was very influential to George Liele and Andrew Bryan. Their respective paths may have even crossed at one point.
As George matured in the Gospel, the conflict between the Brits and the Colonialists also grew. Representatives of the Crown aided in the emigration of many Africans who loyalties remained true (readers will recall that George Liele migrated to Jamaica during the heat of the conflict, where he was able to develop his own Church). For David George, as Liele went South, he was escorted North to the Canadian province Nova Scotia, along with 3500 other people of African descent seeking asylum from the war and the institution of slavery. In Canada, George continued his work as a religious leader and developed a Baptist congregation for the wartime migrants in Shelburne. However, this establishment would not last long; despite the fact that the former American migrants had absconded from American enslavement, they were met by racist mobs in Canada of white Americans whom had also fled. In what is historically known as the Shelburne Riots, mobs of displaced white Americans brought their racist ideals and methods with them to the Canadian territories, resulting in a number of conflicts.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that American customs and ideals had followed George and his family to Nova Scotia, they were still able to settle in an African American community called Birchtown for a number of years. At this time as well the British were establishing colonies/townships for free Blacks in several locales on the continent of Africa. One such township called Freetown was established in Sierra Leone. This town was primarily established for emancipated Africans who were educated in the British system and had been converted to Christianity. As well, these free-returning-migrant Africans were to be used in the continued colonization efforts of the British in Africa. George and his family settled in Sierra Leone sometime in the late-1770s/early-1780s, where they would begin setting up missions under the British flag.
Further, in Sierra Leone, George and his family (progeny included) became a very critical part of the colony. The first Baptist church in Sierra Leone was founded through the efforts of George, as well his family is responsible for organizing returning African migrants, much like the Americo-Liberians, into a recognized ethnic minority that comprises about five percent of the country’s current population. The colonization of African lands by returning African Americans created a cultural divide amongst the people that has resulted in serious conflict over the centuries, this is especially true in Liberia’s case. However, despite issues of identity and ownership George’s descendants have been very active in Sierra Leone and have worked with organizations and the country’s government to address the cultural divide within the country and reach-out to Africans throughout the diaspora in order to foster a sense of unity.
George’s original congregation, the Silver Bluff Baptist Church hobbled its way through the 19th century, supported by the enslaved Africans that remained after George absconded to Canada and the Gauflin family who continued their backing of the institution. To elaborate, the church body was moved to Augusta, Georgia shortly after the Revolutionary War. In Augusta, the church changed their name to the Springfield Baptist Church in 1801. In the early part of the 20th century, historian Walter Brooks connected the histories of the Silver Bluff and Springfield Baptist church and proclaimed it as the oldest African American congregation in the US. Though there are a couple other churches that claim this distinction, the history of the David George and the Silver Bluff Baptist Church has a solid right to the history.
 James W. Walker. The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870. (University of Toronto Press, 1992), 4-6.
 Simon Schama, Rough Crossings. (Toronto: Penguin Group, 2005). This point still seems to be highly disputed as record keeping was not as meticulous as it is in the present day.
 Albert Raboteau. Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 139-140.
 Ibid., 139.
 James W. Walker. The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870. (University of Toronto Press, 1992), 12.
 Howard Zinn. A People’s History of the United States. (New York: HarperCollins, 1999), 88-89.
 Barry Cahill. "Stephen Blu in Loyalist Nova Scotia". (Nova Scotia Historical Review), 129.
 Sherri Borden Colley. “After 200 years without land title, Nova Scotia black community offered hope: Black Loyalists, Black Refugees were given land, but no title, in 1775 and 1812.” www.cbc.ca. Accessed Sept 28, 2017. This article address the problem of ownership of Canadian lands two centuries after David George and other refugees absconded to Canada.
 The United States had established a similar colony in the African territory currently known as Liberia which is the neighboring country.
 James W. Walker. The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870. (University of Toronto Press, 1992), 145. This ethnic group is referred to as the Krio, which is an adaptation of the word Creole. This ethnic group is comparable to the colonial descendants from Liberia; Liberia represents an America colony which like the British endeavored to return stolen Africans to the African continent to form colonies.
 James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton. In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860. (London: Oxford University Press), 186.
 War torn Liberia has been in constant conflict since the period of African American emigration.
 Albert Raboteau. Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 139.
 The Gauflin family being reference are the descendants of the Africans enslaved by the Gauflins.
 Walter H. Brooks, "The Priority of the Silver Bluff Church and Its Promoters," Journal of Negro History (April 1922).