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Cummings Family Hosts Rep. Pingree at Historic Abyssinian Meeting House After Securing $1.7M for Restoration Effort

PORTLAND, MAINE—Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) joined the Cummings family on a guided tour of the historic Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland to see first-hand how the $1.7 million in funding she secured will help finally complete the restoration effort. Pam Cummings, who guided Pingree on the tour on Tuesday, and her family have led the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian since 1998. 

“It was an honor and a privilege to join the Cummings family on a tour of the Abyssinian Meeting House. Their 25-year effort to restore this landmark will finally be complete, and I was proud to help make that possible through my role on the House Appropriations Committee,” said Pingree. “With this vital funding, the Abyssinian will become a living piece of history, giving our community and all those who visit the opportunity to step into the past and learn about the important role the Abyssinian had in seminal events in our shared history, such as the Underground Railroad and advocating for the abolition of slavery. It’s wonderful to see this cornerstone of Portland’s two-century old Black community begin a new chapter.”

“For 25 years, our mission has been to restore the Abyssinian. We have held true to that vision, and now, we can create a living, historic memory for people—because to truly understand the Abyssinian, you have to feel the life and struggle that once existed there,” said Pam Cummings. “My family and the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian can’t thank Congresswoman Pingree enough for working to secure this federal funding. With it, we’re closer than ever before to bringing this piece of Black history back to life.”

Among the ten projects Pingree secured funding for in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations package, the Abyssinian restoration project’s final phase will include the design and construction of the building’s interior, including design and installation of the museum exhibit space; building mechanicals, plumbing, HVAC, and other utilities; office, community, conference, and educational space; technology for onsite and distance live-streaming program collaboration; and ADA compliance. Planned community education programming, exhibitions, and humanities endeavors rely on the historic restoration of the building's interior.

Click here to learn more about the Abyssinian’s history and restoration effort. Click here to watch a video message from Pingree about the funding.

Pingree is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and a member of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus. 


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