December 4, 1806

African Meeting House Opens

Greater Boston

On this day in 1806, the Reverend Thomas Paul was installed as pastor of the new African Meeting House in Boston. Two days later, the church was officially dedicated. The Meeting House served as a spiritual, social, and physical haven for the black community of Boston, many of whom lived on the northern slope of Beacon Hill. Members gathered at the Meeting House to worship but also to plan political action. Black children attended school there. It was the setting for musical concerts, dramatic productions, debates, lectures, and more. In 1972 the Museum of African American History acquired the Meeting House and has since restored it to its 1854 design. It is the oldest extant African American church building in the United States.

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