Thomas Paul was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the oldest of six brothers. He was educated for the ministry in Hollis, NH, at the Free Will Baptist Church. Ordained in 1804, he was instrumental in the 1805 founding the First African Baptist Church located on Joy Street Boston (at various times known as the First Independent Baptist Church and the Belknap Street Church). The church is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston and is a National Landmark.
Rev. Thomas Paul was known for his oratory and organizational skills. Together with other black leaders, he contributed to the development of Black Liberation Theology, tying biblical teachings to social justice and the quest for African American equal acceptance in society. Paul also played a key role in Boston black community as a Prince Hall Mason.
In 1815, Rev. Paul travelled to England in a delegation from the Masonic Lodge of Africans. A topic raised at that time was black men and women’s emigration to Haiti with the support of the white Massachusetts Baptist Society, in May 1823, Rev. Paul left for Haiti as a missionary. In December 1823, Rev. Paul returned to Boston giving a favorable report of his work in Haiti. Rev.
Thomas Paul died in 1831 in Boston, Massachusetts. He is buried in Copp’s Hill Burying ground, Boston, Massachusetts.