The African Meeting House to Open Again in December 2011
The African Meeting House was the political, religious and social center of the free African American community in Boston prior to the Civil War and today is the oldest standing black church building in the U.S. A partnership with Boston African American National Historic Site (BOAF) provides for the preservation and the interpretation of the National Historic Landmark, owned by the Museum of African American History (MAAH).
Last August, the final phase of its five-year restoration began thanks to a National Park Service $4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to build an elevator stair tower for access; replace electrical, heating, cooling and fire suppression systems; repair interior finishes and recreate lighting fixtures and pews to more accurately reflect the historic period.
"These improvements will allow the National Park Service and Museum of African American History to engage visitors within the very walls where the giants of the abolitionist movement made history," said Cassius Cash, superintendent of BOAF.
"The African Meeting House is where the luminaries of the abolitionist movement gathered to end slavery in the nation," said Beverly Morgan-Welch, executive director of MAAH. "We're delighted to have the opportunity to return this hallowed space to its former glory."
Construction is set to be completed this summer. Currently, MAAH and BOAF are working together to prepare for the African Meeting House to re-open in December 2011.
Since 1806, the African Meeting House has stood as a tangible symbol of the ideals of freedom and democracy embodied by the men and women, blacks and whites who gathered there to learn, to pray and to speak out against injustices.
To learn more about the African Meeting House, visit www.maah.org.