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Black History of the Seacoast

Roots and Branches by Richard Haynes

African American history in New Hampshire begins as early as 1645. Hundreds of blacks, enslaved and free, lived in the seacoast in the 1700s. Black men fought in the Revolution and the Civil War. Their stories are among the most popular on this web site. Articles are based on and inspired by the work of historian Valerie Cunningham and Mark Sammons, authors of the upcoming book "Black Portsmouth".
See all articles


"Roots and Branches" artwork
© Richard Haynes. Jr 

First time visitor? Start with these articles:
First Blacks Of Portsmouth
Tour the Black Heritage Trail Online

BUY THE NEW BOOK: Black Portsmouth 

The fullest black history coverage of any American Community

NEW: Untangling the Prince Whipple Legend

Guess Who Came to Dinner
Civil Rights Action Celebrated
Integrating the Wentworth in 1964

Make this a Hallowed Place
Burying Ground is a rare opportunity for Portsmouth to come to terms with the past

In Search of Primus Fowle
NH's first black printer was praised, but enslaved

A Child Out of Place
Interview with children's book author Pat Wall

The Coffins Under the Street
Could this be the long lost Negro Burying Ground?

Lost Black Cemetery Discovered? 
The day the news broke with exclusive photos

Richard Potter, First US Magician
His father was white, his mother a former slave

Maine's "Visible" Black History
A new web site and book focus on Portland, ME

NH's First Black Congregation
The story of the newly reconstructed Pearl of Portsmouth

Beneath the Underground Railroad in New England
Largely a case of blacks helping blacks

Frederick Douglass Comes to Town
A little known tale of the famous Abolitionist

Langdon Family Slaves
Domestic and farm workers in Portsmouth's #1 family

Warner House Slaves
Three famous owners all practiced slavery

The Church and Portsmouth Slaves
How did a northern church treat local slaves?

Slaves of the William Pitt Tavern
The Stavers family hosted royalists andrevolutionaries -- and owned slaves.

Slavery in Portsmouth
When 61 slaves arrived here in 1755 it was business as usual for NH

The Morning Star of Dover
A white abolitionist newspaper struggles to be heard in 19th century Seacoast NH

Whittier's Anti-Slavery Ode to NH
Poet John Greenleaf Whittier praised NH for its abolitionist stand in 1846. But did we deserve it?

NH's "Colored Patriots Of The Revolution"
The most complete plot summary of NH's ground-breaking 1949 race film.

50 Year Old Movie Press Release
See the original ad and read the 1949 release

The Making of "Lost Boundaries"
All about the 1949 NH docu-drama on race and prejudice by Louis de Rochemont.

"Thirst for Freedom" Tells Runaway Tale
Photos from a play about Ona Judge Staines

We Get US Post Office "Stamp of Approval" wins government diversity award

Black Heroes, White Poets
Two local authors focus on little known tales

Ona, Runaway Slave of George Washington
She was Martha’s body slave, until she ran to Seacoast NH

Migrant Worker Paintings by Richard Haynes
An exclusive look at a new gallery

Brewster on Prince & Cuffee Whipple
They were popular members of local society

NH Slave Stories Thrive Online
Portsmouth black history outdraws all our topics

"Black Jacks" Exclusive Interview
UNH Prof. Jeff Bolster releases first comprehensive history of African American mariners in the Age of Sail.

NH's "Colored Patriots Of The Revolution"
Excerpt from the landmark 1855 history book of black Revolutionary War heroes and author bio.

First Blacks Of Portsmouth (Part 2)
Valerie Cunningham traces African American history from 1645 through the first harsh century of slavery.

First Blacks Of Portsmouth (Part 2)
Limited freedom came slowly. Valerie Cunningham discusses emancipation, the "Negro Court," and the lives of Portsmouth's expanding black population.

Prince Whipple
An unsung Revolutionary War hero of Portsmouth is pictured in "Crossing the Delaware" with George Washington.

Slavery In Portsmouth
Charles W. Brewster's 1800s view of slavery is far from politically correct today, but it is one of the few records remaining.

Black Heritage Trail
Still a work in progress, this stirring catalog of places, people and times in Portsmouth is finally finding its way into the history of our region.

The Portsmouth Elders
Five selections from Valerie Cunningham's oral history of long time black residents of Portsmouth.

American Jazz Gallery by Richard Haynes
Portsmouth’s premier painter plays on

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018 
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