An Epic in the Making

“It’s exciting. It’s moving. It’s surprising. It’s suspenseful It’s filled with men who became heroes, and women who became legends. It’s an epic 300 years in the making. It’s Pennsylvania history. Experience it. It’s too good to miss.”   Motivation is tough to describe, even tougher to define. It’s the stuff acting is made...
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Madman or Saint? Abolitionist John Brown

The door to the jail cell creaked open, and the condemned old man stared at his visitor, not recognizing the face. The one who entered spoke first, identifying himself as Morrow B. Lowry of Erie. The prisoner suddenly remembered, and “cordially and gratefully” greeted his friend of many years ago. Their reunion must have seemed strange and sad. Low­ry, learning that his former...
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The Friends Fight for Freedom

In September 1738, Quak­ers from throughout southeastern Pennsylva­nia and western New Jersey made their exodus to the small town of Burlington, a journey which marked the commencement of Philadel­phia Yearly Meeting, held in alternate years in the New Jersey community. Members of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called “Quakers,” many of whom were the most respected of...
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Women in Pennsylvania … The First Two Hundred Years

In the past two hundred years thousands of women have contributed significantly to the social, economic, political and cultural richness of Pennsylvania. An encyclopedia could barely sketch their contributions. Since this article cannot possibly present a complete picture of women’s history in our state, it will survey the changes in women’s roles with brief accounts of a few famous...
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The Consequences of the American Revolution in Pennsylvania

One of the more interesting and controversial aspects of the American Revolution concerns its consequen­ces upon colonial institutions and society in general. Was the society left almost unchanged by a movement fun­damentally conservative in its causes, or was it profoundly altered by a revolution radical in its results, if not in its origins? Specifically, what happened to the society of...
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The Black Press in Pennsylvania

I The Black press in Pennsylvania played a leading role in the struggle for Afro-American freedom in the pre-Civil War period. After the war, Afro-American tabloids in the Commonwealth were among the first newspapers to call for the civil rights and enfranchise­ment of Afro-Americans in the South and North. Fre­quently, editors of these newspapers became elected politicians and they used their...
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How to Uncover Black Family History

Genealogy has replaced astrology as America’s favorite topic at social gatherings. Several factors are responsible in sparking the present upsurge in Black genealogy. The civil rights movement of the 1960’s encouraged a feeling of Black solidarity that had not existed before. Marches, demonstrations, and mass jailings brought together diverse elements of the Black community and made...
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The African-American Clan

Recent publications and media presentations have spurred an unusual interest in genealogical research. This enthusiasm extends from the academic community to large numbers of lay people who are attempting to retrace their roots. As is well known, genealogical research in its simplest form results in the ability to construct a blood-line tree that presents the kinship relationships between people...
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A Black Underground: Resistance to Slavery, 1833-1860

The Underground Railroad is an important historical link with which most Pennsylvanians are familiar. Ever since William Still, the Black histo­rian, published his famous record of fugitive aid in 1872, however, many have questioned whether in reality the Underground Railroad existed. Some say that fugitive aid in Pennsylvania was rendered individually and spontaneously. Others say that an...
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Black Harrisburg’s Resistance to Slavery

In April 18, 1825, a fugitive slave from Mary­land was found by his owner in Harrisburg and was imprisoned in the Dauphin County jail. A hearing on the matter was held in the courthouse that day, with Judge Bucher presiding. It took most of the day to con­vince the Judge that the slave should be returned to the custody of the slaveholder, during which time, according to the Pennsylvania...
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