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Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
Site #24
St. John's Parish Hall
Chapel Street

St. John's Chapel Local people, alarmed by news and television images of violent racial confrontations, gathered in 1963 at St. John's to discuss and educate themselves on matters of race and religion. Their group quickly grew and diversified to include black and white citizens of many religious affiliations. In September 1964, they invited expanded membership, adopted the name Seacoast Council on Race and Religion (SCORR), committed themselves to addressing "a deeply complex disease of society" and went into action. They attended the Martin Luther King March on Boston in April 1965, and raised funds for his work; set up a local speakers bureau; attended conferences on racism; raised money to help the NAACP's voter registration drive in Mississippi; canvassed the local community on the status of civil rights here; met with seacoast chapters of the League of Women Voters; sponsored youth education programs; publicly condemned local minstrel shows; collected money and supplies for the 1968 Poor Peoples' March on Washington; and made many other efforts. Before the organization disbanded in 1972, SCORR provided a powerful moral voice, education and practical action.

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