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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Portsmouth in Rockingham County, New Hampshire — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Negro Pews

Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail

 
 
Negro Pews Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bryan Simmons, July 2012
1. Negro Pews Marker
Inscription. Until the mid 1800's, most New England churches assigned pews to parishioners by their social rank. Black people, enslaved or free, usually were seated as far as possible from the pulpit. Negro pews in the North Meetinghouse, which stood here from 1711 to 1854, were located in the upper balcony high above the front door.
 
Location. 43° 4.603′ N, 70° 45.479′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in Rockingham County. Marker is on Congress St (U.S. 1) just from Church Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in small fenced in area next to church. Marker is in this post office area: Portsmouth NH 03801, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Original New Hampshire State House (within shouting distance of this marker); 18 Congress (within shouting distance of this marker); Nation's Oldest Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Treaty of Portsmouth 1905 (within shouting distance of this marker); The South Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ceilia Layton Thaxter (about 400 feet away); Joseph & Nancy (Cotton) and their children, Eleazor & James (about 400 feet away); Temple Israel (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portsmouth.
 
Related markers.
North Meetinghouse image. Click for full size.
By Bryan Simmons, July 2012
2. North Meetinghouse
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
 
Also see . . .  Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail.
In the colonial era some white people objected to the Christianization of enslaved Africans and didn’t take their slaves to church. Pious whites catechized their enslaved people and took them to church. Many slaves later became active church members. Isolated in balcony “Negro Pews” in most churches, some were bored by didactic sermons and played quiet games or smacked. (Submitted on April 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches & Religion
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on July 28, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 548 times since then and 60 times this year. Last updated on April 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 28, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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