Beacon Hill Neighborhood


During the late eighteenth century, Beacon Hill’s north slope section became home to a considerable African American population. By the mid 1700s, the African American population in the area around Belnap Street exceeded 1,000. Throughout the early nineteenth century, the African American population in Beacon Hill continued to grow. This neighborhood is notable for its central role in the antebellum abolitionist movement housing important locations like the African Meeting House. Advertisements in African American newspapers often featured notices for boardinghouses located in Beacon Hill including one operated by Lewis and Harriet Hayden. Many of these buildings including the African Meeting House, the Hayden House, and more, still stand. Today the African Meeting House is the location of hte Boston Museum of African American History.

For more, scroll down to explore an interactive map.











MAP: This map illustrates some of the important locations in Beacon Hill. As you click through think about these places in relation to the Hayden house. Consider the proximity of boardinghouses to other areas of political activity and how these locations shaped political engagement.


Researched and written by Anna Lacy. Edited by Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman.


  • Horton, James Oliver and Horton, Lois E. Black Bostonians; Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North, Revised Edition.New York: Holmes & Meier, 1999.
  • “Historic Resource Study Boston African American National Historic Site” by Kathryn Grover and Janine V. da Silva.