People of African origin or descent have been part of Portsmouth since at least 1645.
This waterfront was an entry port for enslaved people arriving in New Hampshire during the 1600s and 1700s.
Ships brought black children and adults directly . . . — — Map (db m115978) HM
In the midst of the American Revolution in 1777, James, enslaved by tavern owner John Stavers, was ordered to stop a zealous patriot from chopping down the tavern sign. Although James nearly killed the man, it was his owner, a suspected Tory, who . . . — — Map (db m115986) HM
In 1717 Portsmouth's first identified black family was baptised by South Church.
Baptisms of enslaved people became more frequent in local churches; black marriages, however, were not included in town records until the Revolutionary Era, when . . . — — Map (db m115979) HM
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 . . . — — Map (db m115983) HM
In 1915 the congregation of the People's Baptist Church which had been meeting in the South Ward Hall for more than twenty-five years, brought this 1857 building for $1200. Though officially Baptist, its membership was multidenominational. For . . . — — Map (db m115984) HM
Prince, enslaved by General William Whipple and his wife Katharine Moffatt, accompanied the general through several battles of the American Revolution but was not freed until 1784. In 1779, however, Prince and Winsor were two of twenty African-born . . . — — Map (db m115985) HM
Siras, in 1783, contracted with John Langdon to serve as a “domestic servant."
Among Langdon's papers, itemized bills for "Siras de Bruce" confirm descriptions of his resplendent, even dazzling attire: white breeches, blue or black coats, . . . — — Map (db m115981) HM
In colonial Portsmouth, segregation applied in death as in life. City officials approved a plan in 1705 that set aside this city block for a "Negro Burying Ground." It was close to town, but pushed to what was then its outer edge. By 1813, houses . . . — — Map (db m115977) HM