Mural showing a history of action against racial injustice.

Owning Our History

We know that 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.



In recent years, First Church has been working to reckon with our history of enslaving persons of African and Indigenous descent and to learn about the harmful, inequitable living legacy of slavery and white supremacy in our church, city, and nation.  We are asking how we can make reparation and work together to eradicate racial inequality in our lives, our church, and wider communities.  Our Vision for Being an Anti-Racist Church calls us each to take action immediately in our lives, church and communities. Please visit our Racial Justice page for more about specific steps First Church is taking in this ongoing and forever work.