SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK Reopens Boston Church

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Monday December 12, 2011


Oldest Standing Black Church Reopens In Boston
By: Delores Handy

The African Meeting House, the oldest standing black church in America, reopens to the public Friday for the first time in six years.

The three-story brick building is tucked in an alley off Joy Street on the north slope of Beacon Hill. That’s where Boston’s free black population came together in the 18th century, and where they formed the “Bucks of America” in the 1770s to defend Boston during the American Revolution.

Built in 1806, the African Meeting House is a brick and mortar, as well as a cultural and historical, reminder of the black presence in America and the rough road to freedom for some of its early patriots.

A musical tribute by Sweet Honey in the Rock during a private re-dedication ceremony this week captured the essence of the building’s powerful place in history. It’s a difficult but rich history that is little told: slavery and the self-emancipation of black people who organized on behalf of brothers and sisters who were still enslaved. The building is a vivid reminder of a black history in America that is as old as America itself.

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