The Museum of African American History is dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of African Americans in New England from the colonial period through the 19th century.




Image: Experience the newly restored African Meeting House - click on image to learn more about this historic restoration.

Black Heritage Trail®
Image: footsteps

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Boston’s free African American community led the nation in the movement to end slavery and to achieve equal rights. These remarkable patriots established businesses, founded organizations and created schools. Their houses of worship, homes, schools, and Underground Railroad sites make up Boston’s Black Heritage Trail®. Scroll down for more on the tour schedules, maps, and details about the city's free black community, or click on the footsteps to start an online tour of important American landmarks.





Join interpretive rangers of the National Park Service Boston African American National Historic Site (BOAF) for guided walking tours departing from the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial (across from the Massachusetts State House) and ending at the nation's first African Meeting House, which anchors MAAH's Boston campus.



Our BOAF/NPS partners offer historically rich guided tours.
Free | 90 minutes | As seasonally scheduled;
also available by special appointment:

Interpretive Rangers' free guided tours of MAAH's
Black Heritage Trail® are conducted as follows:


Off-season Tours Available on Request
Call BOAF to schedule a Black Heritage Trail® walking tour, daily talks in the African Meeting House, or Faneuil Hall Visitor Center information: 617.742.5415.

NOTE: Schedules are subject to change.



Immerse yourself in amazing history any time your schedule permits. Download our audio tour or take a self-guided tour all year long. Get your map in the Museum Gift Store and Faneuil Hall Visitor Center.



Enjoy a voice-guided walking tour developed by high school students for families and children. Click here for audio tour download via CD Baby; available for only 99¢.



Click below to download the NHS Park walking tour brochure (PDF):

Boston African American NHS Park Brochure, Side 1
Boston African American NHS Park Brochure, Side 2

NOTE: The historic homes on the Black Heritage Trail® are private residences and are not open to the public. Only the African Meeting House and the Abiel Smith School are open to the public. For more information on our walking tours, please contact the museum.

Amazing History on the Black Heritage Trail®

Between 1800 and 1900, most of the African Americans who lived in the city resided in the West End, between Pinckney and Cambridge Streets, and between Joy and Charles Streets, a neighborhood now called the North Slope of Beacon Hill.

The first Africans arrived in Boston in February of 1638, eight years after the city was founded. They were brought by their enslavers, purchased in Providence Isle, a Puritan colony off the coast of Central America. By 1705, there were more than 400 enslaved in Boston and the beginnings of a free black community in the North End.

The American Revolution was a turning point in the status of Africans in Massachusetts. At the end of the conflict, there were more free black people than slaves. When the first federal census was enumerated in 1790, Massachusetts was the only state in the Union to record no slaves.

The all-free black community in Boston was concerned with finding decent housing, establishing independent supportive institutions, educating their children, and ending slavery in the rest of the nation. All of these concerns were played out in this Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Click on the footsteps to begin your online Black Heritage Trail® tour.

Image: footsteps

If you would like to visit individual locations, choose from the list below.

1. Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial

2. George Middleton House

3. The Phillips School

4. John J. Smith House

5. Charles Street Meeting House

6. Lewis and Harriet Hayden House

7. John Coburn House

8-12. Smith Court Residences

13. Abiel Smith School

14. The African Meeting House