Mural showing a history of action against racial injustice.

Owning Our History

First Church was complicit with Northern slavery during the 200 years that it was legal in Massachusetts. In 2011, research into First Church records and other sources from the Congregational Library showed that 36 enslaved persons (33 Africans and 3 Indigenous persons) owned by First Church members, including two Senior Ministers, became members of the church in the 17th and 18th centuries.  After slavery in Massachusetts was abolished in 1783, First Church was largely silent on the great questions of slavery, abolition and emancipation through the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Public Remembrance Project

The Public Remembrance Project at First Church is engaging persons in the congregation and community members in the wider Cambridge and Greater Boston communities, across racial, class, and economic lines, in conversations that we hope will involve our communities in discussion of a public remembrance of First Church’s complicity in Northern slavery and possible forms of reparations.