Julia A. J. Foote (born May 21, 1823 in Schenectady, New York) was ordained as the first woman deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the second to be ordained as an elder.
Julia A. J. Foote was born to parents who were both former slaves. Her family moved to Albany in 1836. At 16, she married George Foote. She preached as an itinerant minister and Holiness evangelist for over 50 years. Her life is recounted in her autobiography, A Brand Plucked from the Fire: An Autobiographical Sketch. She was eventually ordained as the first woman deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the second to be ordained as an elder. Most of her life she faced discrimination and hardships due to her gender, race and spirituality. She found creative outlets for her spiritual calling and was eventually well received by both the black and white communities. Church leaders such as Bishop Alexander Walters, Cicero R. Harris, and William Davenport wrote about her influence on the Holiness movement, on their spiritual development, and on their families as she was a dearly beloved evangelist, mentor, and friend.
Foote died in November 1901. She was living with Bishop Walters’s family when she died. She was buried on Bishop Walters’s family plot in the Cypress Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn on Jamaica Avenue, although there is no headstone. She was, as Bishop Walters wrote, a "renowned woman evangelist."
- Foote, Julia A. J. (1879) A Brand Plucked from the Fire: An Autobiographical Sketch. Cleveland: Lauer & Yost.