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Hayden House Lewis and Harriet Hayden House
NPS Photo

African Meetinghouse African Meetinghouse
Photo courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities

Lewis Hayden (1811-1889), an escaped Kentucky slave, settled in Boston with his wife Harriet in 1849 and became active in the abolition movement. Their home is the most documented of Boston's Underground Railroad stations, having sheltered many fugitive slaves. The Hayden House is located in the Boston African American National Historic Site which includes 15 pre-Civil War buildings relating to the history of Boston's 19th century African American community, including the African Meeting House, the Abiel Smith School, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the black Massachusetts 54th Regiment. The African Meetinghouse, built in 1806 and the oldest known extant black church in the United States, was a place of discussion for many of the nation's most prominent abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Charles Sumner. Established in 1834, the Abiel Smith School was the first primary and grammar school established for black children in Boston. All of the sites in the National Historic Site are linked by the 1.6 mile Black Heritage Trail. The Boston African American National Historic Site was authorized by Congress October 10, 1980 and is coordinated by the National Park Service.

Boston African American National Historic Site headquarters is located at 14 Beacon Street, Suite 506 where visitors can find information on touring the Black Heritage Trail. The African Meeting House is located at 8 Smith Circle and is not open to the public. The Lewis and Harriet Hayden House, located at 66 Phillips Street, is a private residence and is not open to the public.

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