The Black Heritage Trail is a path in Boston, Massachusetts, winding through the Beacon Hill neighborhood and sites important in American black history. The Black Heritage Trail links more than 15 pre-Civil War structures and historic sites, including the 1806 African Meeting House, the oldest surviving black church in the United States.
In 1783, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to declare slavery illegal — mostly out of gratitude for black participation in the American Revolutionary War. Subsequently, a sizable community of free blacks and escaped slaves developed in Boston, settling on the north face of Beacon Hill, and in the North End. With a strong abolitionist community, Boston was long considered a desirable destination for southern black slaves escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad.