Although the Quakers allowed women to speak at their meetings, most religions did not let women preach in the first half of the 19th century.
A few women defied this ruling. Jarena Lee, for example, was not deterred when the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church initially refused to recognize her as a preacher.
“Nothing is impossible with God,” she insisted, and she succeeded in convincing AME bishop Richard Allen of her preaching abilities.
Phoebe Palmer began her preaching by holding Methodist prayer meetings for women in the mid-1830s; by 1839 men had begun to attend as well.
She became one of the leaders of the Holiness movement, which believed that people could save their souls through good deeds. Her preaching and writings converted many thousands to this movement.
She also called on other women to preach.