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This Day in Boston History
December 4th, 1806
African Meeting House
On this day,
the African Meeting House was founded in Boston. It is today the oldest
black church edifice still standing in the United States.
Boston's white congregations of the day segregated blacks to balcony seats
and denied them the full privlidges of church membership. The African
Meeting House would come to be popularily called "The Black Faneuil
Hall", and function as a civic, social and religious hub for Boston's
black community, and the anti-slavery movement.
Ironically, at its public dedication floor-level pews were reserved for
all those "benevolently disposed to the Africans," while the
black members sat in the balcony of their new meeting house.
The federalist style design is based on a pattern published by Asher Benjamin,
who designed the nearby Charles
Street Meeting House.