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Abyssinian Meeting House

Abyssinian Meeting House, Portland, ME

The Abyssinian Meeting House (1828)in Portland, Maine, is the historical, religious, educational and cultural center of Portland's 19th century African American population. It is the earliest meeting house associated with a black population in Maine and the third oldest extant African American meeting house in New England. The Abyssinian Congregation is closely associated with the Underground Railroad (UGRR) and with local abolitionist activity prior to and during the Civil War. Because of its easy access by rail and sea, Portland developed as one of the orthernmost hubs of the UGRR system, the last stop before legal freedom. When the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 allowed slave owners and agents to track down escaped runaways in the north and return them to slavery, black and white activists in Portland provided safe houses and refuge for and helped organize escape routes to Enlgand and Canada. The ministers, leaders and members of the Abyssinian actively participated in concealing, supplying, and transporting runaways.

Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.

Location: 73-75 Newbury St, Portland, 04101

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Leonard Cummings

Location Type: Site

People/Organizations Associated with the site: Fugitive Slave Law

UGRR Operatives: Amos G. Beman,James W.C. Pennington,Rev. Amos Noah Freeman,William Lloyd Garrison

Religious Denominations: Congregational