A Gathering at the Crossroads: Memorializing African American Trailblazers and a Lost Neighborhood in Harrisburg

Twice during the second half of 2020, people gathered at Harrisburg’s Capitol Park to witness the dedication of A Gathering at the Crossroads, a monument commemorating four statewide civil rights crusaders and the African American residents of a now-vanished neighborhood in Harrisburg who contributed to the commonwealth’s entrenched legacy of freedom. The monument, sculpted by Becky Ault,...
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“Without Fear and Without Reproach”: Octavius V. Catto and the Early Civil Rights Movement in Pennsylvania

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the City of Philadelphia unveiled a monument to Octavius V. Catto in a ceremony at the southwestern apron of City Hall. Catto was a cornerstone figure in Philadelphia’s early civil rights struggle — a recruiter of an African American militia during the Civil War, an instrumental figure in the victory to desegregate Philadelphia’s horse-drawn streetcars, a...
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Breaking the Color Line: The Trial That Led to the End of Legal Segregation in Pennsylvania’s Schools

The half-century following the Civil War was an unpleasant yet profound period of race relations in American history. To date, much of the scholarship about equal rights during that era concentrates on Southern reconstruction while ignoring some very important accomplishments in other parts of the country. Activists in Pennsylvania, for instance, took up a complicated struggle over state and...
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Editor’s Letter

The roots of rock ‘n’ roll music have been traced to several places in America, Philadelphia among them. It was there in 1949 that the Gotham label released what is considered to be one of the first rock ‘n’ roll records, “Rock the Joint,” by Jimmy Preston & the Prestonians of Chester, Delaware County. “Rock the Joint” had an impact on another rock...
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