Guided tour

Portland, Maine: Black History Guided Walking Tour

4.8 / 5

5 reviews

Activity provider: Portland by the Foot
Guided tour

Portland, Maine: Black History Guided Walking Tour

Activity provider: Portland by the Foot

From US$ 49 per person

Trace the steps of Black explorers, mariners, religious leaders, politicians, and civil rights activists over 400 years of Maine history. Follow your local guide through the Old Port and East End.

About this activity

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Duration 2 hours
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Live tour guide


  • Journey in time from 1604 to the present day to uncover Maine's Black heritage
  • Discover riveting stories of Black figures who are all too often glossed over
  • Step back in time to when the wharves were run by 19th-century Black stevedores
  • Celebrate the political meetings and direct actions taken by Black Yankees
  • See the homes of Black families who ran the underground railroad
Full description
Wind through the brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets of Portland's Old Port and working waterfront on this guided walking tour. Immerse yourself in the rich story of the Black community in the East End neighborhood. Meet your local guide at the First Parish Church, Portland's oldest church, and begin your journey back in time. Discover the monuments, places of business, and civic institutions where Black Yankees drove the economy and organized for political power. Head to the East End neighborhood to see the homes of Black sailors and stevedores that served as stations on the underground railroad. Admire the churches where Black families worshipped, celebrated, and learned together from the 19-century up to the present day. Learn how Maine's earliest colonial settlements could not have survived without Black insight, skill, and labor. Uncover the story behind the enslaved Black maid who abolished slavery in Maine during the Revolutionary War.

Discover the exceptional figures who shaped Portland and the State of Maine over 400 years of Black history. Printed images of the past together with gifted storytelling will bring the past to life. Hear the stories that usually get left out of history tours. A portion of every ticket sale will help fund the restoration of the Abyssinian Meeting House, Maine's oldest and America's third-oldest standing Black church. End your tour at Eastern Cemetery, one-half mile from where it began. Entertainer-historian Dugan Murphy leads unforgettable jaunts through his hometown, telling an inclusive, empowering, and surprising constellation of tales you won't hear on other tours. Find out why TripAdvisor named him Portland's #1 tour guide!

  • 2-hour walking tour
  • Guide
  • Printed historical images
  • Donation to the restoration of the Abyssinian Meeting House
  • Gratuities

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Meeting point

Meet at the First Parish Church which faces Congress Street, at the head of Temple Street, in downtown Portland. It's made of granite and has three big red doors and a clock tower. Meet your guide on the granite steps out front. He'll be holding a 'Portland by the Foot' sign. This location is 0.6 miles from the cruise ship terminal. The Elm Street Parking Garage ( at 21 Elm Street is two blocks away from where the tour starts. Street parking options are restricted to 2 hours or fewer. Meters are free on Sundays.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Umbrella
  • Water
  • Weather-appropriate clothing

Not allowed

  • Pets (assistance dogs allowed)

Know before you go

  • Plan to walk on brick sidewalks that can be a little narrow or uneven and to climb a staircase of 17 steps. If you need to avoid the staircase, let Dugan know and he can route
  • This tour is 1.5 miles long and the longest distance between tour stops is about 0.2 miles (a 4-minute walk)
  • Weather only takes a minute to change, so please dress in layers
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 5 reviews

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I highly recommend the Portland Black History Tour. I learned so much about the overlooked contributions of the Black citizens in Portland and Maine. Dugan was great -- informed, sincerely interested in the material, and readily answered all questions. It was a great way to spend an afternoon. A very positive experience. Thank you Portland by Foot. Thank you Dugan.

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March 23, 2023

Dugan was absolutely wonderful!! He had thoroughly researched the history of Portland, and the role of African-Americansinits development. His talks were engaging and enthusiastic, and our entire group really enjoyed our experience with him. He was not afraid of the hard truth, and we were impressed with his scholarly approach to his material, with some fun updates included. I highly recommend this tour, and hope to return to Maine soon so that I can take his other tours as well.

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March 23, 2023

Wonderful tour. I made my vacation trip to the city worthwhile. It was informative, inspiring and not too difficult for these old legs to handle! Tohe tur guide was smart, humourous and able to answer any questions that were raised. I would definitely recommend it for anyone going to the area.

March 23, 2023

Product ID: 414900