Creation of the Abyssinian Congregational Church, Portland, 1835

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


The Abyssinian Religious Society was formed after African American parishioners of the Second Congregational Church in Portland refused to be segregated on balcony seating, and experienced animosity by White members who discouraged their attendance.

Grievances were published in an 1826 letter to the Eastern Argus by six cosigners: Christopher Christian Manuel, Reuben Ruby, Caleb Jonson, Clement Thomson, Job L. Wentworth, and John Siggs. In 1828 they joined 22 Black residents who petitioned the state Legislature for authority to incorporate the Abyssinian Religious Society.

The articles of creation were recorded in the Meeting House records on July 27, 1835 "for the purpose of organizing a Church among the people of Coulour of this City."

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About This Item

  • Title: Creation of the Abyssinian Congregational Church, Portland, 1835
  • Creator: Second Church in Portland, Maine
  • Creation Date: 1835-07-27
  • Subject Date: 1835-07-27
  • Location: Portland, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Local Code: Coll. 723, vol. 1
  • Collection: Abyssinian Congregational Church and Society records
  • Object Type: Text

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Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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