As a dedicated site on the Portland Freedom Trail, the First Parish Church not only offers a rich history as the oldest house of worship in Portland but was an integral part of the anti-slavery movement in Portland.
The First Parish Church was the site of two events significant to the anti-slavery movement in Maine. First, in 1831 a powerful speech by William Loyd Garrison echoed through the streets of Portland claiming "Immediate emancipation without compensation" for slaves. Ten years later in 1842, a riot occurred when supporters of slavery attempted to prevent militant anti-slavery speakers Stephen Symonds Foster and John Murray Spear from speaking. They both barely escaped with their lives.