African Meeting House

A brick two story-building with large vertical rectangular windows rounded at the top.
The African Meeting House served as a religious, cultural, and political center for the community.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts
8 Smith Court
The oldest surviving Black church structure in the nation.
National Historic Landmark, Black Heritage Trail Site, Network to Freedom Site

The African Meeting House opened in 1806 and is the oldest surviving Black church structure in the nation. Built by a small but powerful free African American community, it served as a church, school and gathering place for political activism and cultural life. Through meetings and events, the Meeting House hosted giants of the anti-slavery, women's rights, and civil rights movements of the 1800s, including Frederick Douglass, Maria Stewart, Sarah Grimke, William Lloyd Garrison, and William Cooper Nell. Widely known as the "Black Faneuil Hall," it hosted numerous community meetings of activist organizations, such as the Massachusetts General Colored Association, the New England Anti-slavery Society, and the New England Freedom Association, a group dedicated to assisting freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad.

The African Meeting House is listed as a site on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. To learn more about the Network to Freedom, please visit their website.

Learn More...

🔊 Listen: African Meeting House on the Black Heritage Trail Audio Tour

African Meeting House - Boston African American National Historic Site

African Meeting House - Museum of African American History

Boston African American National Historic Site

Last updated: March 28, 2023