Abyssinian Church

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Abyssinian Church (former)

75 Newbury Street

African Americans built the Abyssinian Church (Congregational) in 1818 in response to their treatment in Portland's churches. African Americans, who only represented one percent of the city's population, were not accepted into full participation in the churches and were only allowed to sit in the balconies. From 1829 to 1857, the church also ran a school for African Americans taught by women from the church, who also organized a temperance society and a sewing circle. One of the few buildings in this area to survive the Great Fire of July 4, 1866, the church closed in 1917, soon after the Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion opened (site M13).


Historic photos courtesy of Collections of Maine Historical Society, used by permission of Maine Historical Society. It is exempt from the Creative Commons license of this project.