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Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
Site #8
North Church
Market Square

North Church 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 n balcony "Negro Pews" in most churches, some were bored by didactic sermons and played quiet games or smacked. North Church appointed Overseers of the Negro Pews to minimize such activity. Many others adapted and became church members. Blacks associated with North Church include: Frank and Flora Stoodley; Prince and Dinah Chase Whipple; Peter Warner and Dinah Pern, who were married by the North Church minister; and many others.

At the end of the 18th century, when many were freed from enslavement and an American-born generation reached adulthood, the number of black churchgoers in Portsmouth rose. Because evangelical worship style was parallel to West African spiritual tradition, 18th century Portsmouth's black Christians were drawn toward evangelical Baptist churches, two of which were founded here in the colonial period. Later, Portsmouth's major black church also was Baptist.

Now you can buy the whole BLACK HERITAGE GUIDE

Read also: The Church & Portsmouth Slaves

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