African Americans and Civil Rights in Pennsylvania

Features appear in each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage showcasing a variety of subjects from various periods and geographic locations in Pennsylvania.

Summer and swimming go hand in hand – or so thought the Creative Steps Day Care Camp. The camp’s leaders had signed a contract to use the pool at a private swim club, but when the children – 46 African Americans and ten Hispanics ranging from kindergarten through seventh grade – arrived for their summer swim, they were subjected to harsh criticism by some club members. The swim club then cancelled the contract, even though the entire fee of $1,950 had been paid in full. The incident did not occur in the South, but it took place at a the Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County, an affluent Philadelphia suburb, not in 1809 or 1949, but in 2009. Three months later, in September, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission found probable cause that the group’s ouster was motivated by racism. The event bears witness that the struggle by African Americans for civil and political rights continues in the twenty-first century.

When individuals think about African Americans having begun the movement for civil rights, famous names and southern places come quickly to mind. A native of Chester, Delaware County, Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), an African American associate of Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, appeared on the national stage. So, too, did C. Delores Tucker (1927-2005), who walked with King during the famous five-day, fifty-four-mile march in Alabama, from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965.

While historically, many African Americans migrated from southern to northern states throughout the first half of the twentieth century, many African Americans and their allies fighting for civil rights left Pennsylvania for the South, where they worked ardently – yet largely unseen by the nation – to end centuries of oppression. They registered voters, educated the unschooled, and provided medical aid to the ill and impoverished. They took from Pennsylvania a fervent commitment to fight subjugation that dated to the colonial era, a struggle that occurred not only throughout the South, but also throughout the nation. They battled for civil, political, economic, and human rights. Pennsylvania’s reputation for benevolence notwithstanding, African Americans suffered discrimination in the Keystone State, against which they and their supporters struggled valiantly.

Dating to seventeenth-century Pennsylvania, William Penn’s Quaker colony is acknowledged for its kindly disposition and tolerance, but few might know that not only did the proprietor own slaves, but he also sanctioned Africans’ enslavement in the province. His actions are essential for understanding the struggles of a people long denied their rights and in ways that were more insidious than their neighbors to the south. The English introduced slavery, but the American colonists accepted and refined it to meet their specific needs. Blacks suffered indignities that ensured their enslavement and severely restricted absolute freedom. There were, of course, exceptions.

James Forten (1766-1842) was free and financially successful. His story of volunteering to serve on a privateer (a privately owned and crewed ship but authorized by a government during wartime to attack and capture enemy vessels) that supplemented the Continental navy, his capture by the English, and choosing imprisonment rather than swearing allegiance to England reads like that of a hero. After returning from imprisonment, Forten eventually purchased a sail loft business to which he had been apprenticed. He employed an integrated workforce, and became one of Philadelphia’s wealthiest African Americans. Although he prospered, Forten did not ignore the plight of the enslaved. He purchased freedom for slaves, contributed to abolitionist newspapers and schools for African American children, and supported women’s efforts to attain equality. More typical were the few African Americans allowed to join as soldiers but who were often assigned to orderly duties and semi-domestic positions such as waiters and cooks.

Like Forten, they did not organize revolts but pushed back in other ways. Out of the population arose Black men and women in Philadelphia who challenged their enslavement by negotiating for their freedom and movement toward equality. Individuals such as an enslaved woman named Dinah negotiated her freedom from the family of James Logan (1674-1751), Penn’s secretary, a quarter-century after his death. It was Dinah, not the Logans, who broached the subject of freedom in 1776. This act by an African American woman departed from the norm; owners usually decided if and when their slaves would be manumitted. Many followed Dinah’s example, and by 1790, Philadelphia was home to the largest free Black community in the new nation.

With the passage of An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery by the general assembly in March 1780, Pennsylvania became the first of what had been the English mainland colonies to abolish slavery – but did so by gradual means. What few people realize, however, is that gradual abolition ultimately protected the rights of those who owned slaves as “property.” African Americans were freed through manumission, or they remained indentured until reaching the age of twenty-eight. While credit has been given to the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (originally founded in 1775 as the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage), neither group admitted African Americans as members in the early years.

Institutions aided African Americans in their quest for freedom and equality in the eighteenth century, including the Free African Society. The benevolent organization was established in 1787 primarily by Richard Allen (1760-1831) and Absalom Jones (1746-1818), founder of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the nation’s first independent Black church in 1792. In rural areas, where the numbers of Blacks remained small, there was little (if any) abolitionist activity, and the few institutions that did exist would not come about until later in the nineteenth century, such as the Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, organized in Northumberland County in 1849. Anti-slavery societies and sensibilities proliferated in Philadelphia and its immediate vicinity, but there was little support for African Americans’ freedom from enslavement in outlying areas where they often made up the non-family labor force.

The American Revolution was on one hand a source of inspiration and yet also indignation. Male African Americans from Pennsylvania fought with the colonists (as well as with the British), while African American women, echoing the enslaved Dinah, made their bid for freedom. They were keenly aware of the American contradiction that held them enslaved and subordinate while white Americans proclaimed their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Haiti’s eruption in 1791 was the only revolution that freed the enslaved in the Western Hemisphere, and its result remained closer to African Americans’ aspirations. The lessons from Haiti took root among Pennsylvania’s Black populace – not through violence, but the pursuit of freedom through individual and group actions based in a belief that American institutions would live up to the claim “for all” as spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1787.

Unlike many of their southern counterparts who were deliberately kept illiterate, African Americans in the northern colonies (and, later, states) wrote and published pamphlets to impress their humanity upon those who would believe otherwise. In Philadelphia, Allen and Jones protested scandalous allegations by publisher Matthew Carey (1760-1839) that, during the Yellow Fever epidemic in 1793, African American volunteers who aided the sick and buried the dead had abused their position of trust by stealing from the deceased. Twenty years later, in 1813, Forten used the pen and his prestige on behalf of enslaved and less fortunate African Americans, writing a “Letters by a Man of Colour, on a Late Bill before the Senate of Pennsylvania” to counter restrictions on Black liberties.

Since slavery’s abolition in Pennsylvania was gradual, a small number of African Americans remained enslaved as late as 1840. In the years before the American Civil War, Black voices led the chorus to challenge slavery and the absence of equality. Metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania were hubs of change. While most of the activity occurred in Philadelphia, African Americans were busy in western Pennsylvania. During the 1830s, Pittsburgh was a racially divided city where freedom seekers lived in fear of being captured. Into these dire circumstances, Martin R. Delany (1812-1885) would move and write passionately about issues affecting the Black community. He was joined by African American community leaders such as John B. Vashon (circa 1789-1854) and sympathetic whites, including Charles Avery (1784-1858), who campaigned against slavery, helped runaway slaves, and established the Avery Institute and Mission Church (later Avery College) on Pittsburgh’s North Side to provide higher education for African Americans.

In addition to James Forten, the women of the Forten family also occupy a prominent place in the history of civil rights for African Americans and women. They were among the more important members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, organized in 1833 by Lucretia Mott (1793-1880), a Quaker. The society provided a venue for female activists since neither African Americans nor women were accepted by other abolitionist organizations. Forten’s wife, Charlotte Vadine Forten (1786-1886), her daughters, and granddaughters were in a position to attract other women from Philadelphia’s Black elite. They urged them to join a racially mixed group that promoted immediate abolition by hosting anti-slavery gatherings, writing for publications, and lobbying for an African American abolitionist perspective in organizations to which they belonged.

In Pennsylvania, unlike many states, free African American men had been able to vote until 1838, when the general assembly declared that if they were allowed to do so, “it would prove harmful to the state.” Moreover, they could not become judges or even sit on juries. Women, regardless of color, could not vote until the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became law in 1920. Yet these badges of second-class status did not deter Pennsylvania’s African Americans from seeking freedom and equality. Philadelphia’s role in the Underground Railroad is especially well known and documented. William Still (1821-1902), born of enslaved parents, recorded many of the activities that occurred in and around the city. Together with fellow abolitionists, he formed and headed the General Vigilance Committee in 1852, which provided fugitives with legal assistance, food, clothing, money, occasional employment, temporary shelter, and help in making their way toward freedom. Although the Underground Railroad had been in operation since at least the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 increased the necessity for abolitionists to intervene and assist “fugitives from labor” who would only find freedom once they reached safe haven in Canada. Well after the Civil War ended, Still compiled fugitives’ harrowing stories in The Underground Railroad, a book of “hardships, hair-breadth escapes and death struggles.”

Slave catchers in search of owners’ property most frequently visited Pennsylvania’s southern region, such as York, Adams, and Lancaster counties. The most infamous incident, which occurred at Christiana, Lancaster County, on September 11, 1851, was one of the earliest challenges to the 1850 law. Maryland slaveholder Edward Gorsuch and a posse went in search of his escaped slaves. William Parker, a former slave and activist, and other fugitives’ response was one of the rare occasions that resulted in violence and murder. Gorsuch was beaten to death, which led to a court case that attracted national attention, a key component in the struggle for civil rights.

Individuals, rather than abolitionist societies or vigilance committees, oversaw the transport of escaping slaves in the sparsely populated and not entirely sympathetic central Pennsylvania. Daniel Hughes, a barge owner of African American and Native American ancestry, traversed the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania and rowed fugitives to freedom. Hughes was perfectly positioned for this task, as he used his barge to transport lumber from Williamsport, Lycoming County, to Havre de Grace, Maryland, and return with a cargo of fugitives stowed away in the hold with each transport. While Quakers and others joined the effort, they remained a distinct minority, as did African Americans who settled in the area.

While spirited debate about the causes of the Civil War will never cease, there was no doubt about the cause among African Americans. Although they expressed numerous concerns about their status in the nation, slavery stood front and center as the cause of the Civil War, and many African American men rushed to join the Union forces that they believed would finally vanquish the peculiar institution. Others initially questioned whether or not Blacks should fight since Lincoln and other white government officials opposed opening recruitment into the Union Army to African Americans. Their efforts to join the military were rejected in Pennsylvania until the formation of the Philadelphia Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Troops in late 1863. Their efforts paid off when Camp William Penn, located at LaMott, Montgomery County, housed the segregated training facility for the regiments of the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). Two years later, in 1865, Martin R. Delany was commissioned as the first Black line field officer in the U.S. Army. Men from as far away as Warren County, in Pennsylvania’s remote northern tier, joined once they were allowed to do so. As they did in the American Revolution, Blacks sought to defend a nation that had militantly refused to accept them; finally, they succeeded although they would see engagement in segregated troops under the command of white officers.

Octavius V. Catto (1839-1871) had helped recruit and organize many of the soldiers who made up the U.S.C.T. during and after the Civil War. He embodied precisely the traits the American republic claimed to admire. He was educated and eloquent, and believed in the right to vote and the role that education would play in achieving equality. A teacher at Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth, a colleague of educator Fanny Jackson Coppin (1837-1913), and a member of the Equal Rights League, Catto was deeply entrenched in many aspects of Philadelphia’s Black community and enjoyed the respect of its members. Despite their inherently unequal nature, “colored” schools such as the Institute produced remarkably talented and capable individuals such as those taught by Catto.

With the Union’s victory and the passage in 1865 of the Thirteenth Amendment, freedom arrived along with the belief that rights guaranteed by the Constitution finally would be theirs. No longer was the Underground Railroad or the vigilance committees necessary. African Americans began building upon established communities, businesses, churches, and benevolent organizations that would enable equality in the face of continued hostility.

Segregated streetcar transportation was the order of the day, meaning that Black men and women were not permitted to ride. On March 25,1867, three days after the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed a bill desegregating streetcars, Caroline LeCount, a teacher in Philadelphia’s public schools and Catto’s fiancé, attempted to enter a car at Ninth and Lombard streets. The conductor rudely told her that African Americans were not allowed to ride, but LeCount refused to let the matter drop. She first went to a local magistrate, from whom she received no satisfaction. Since the office of Secretary of the Commonwealth was located at the time in Philadelphia, LeCount next took the matter to that office to obtain a copy of the legislation, which she presented to the magistrate. Her determination resulted in the conductor’s arrest and $100 fine, as well as having secured the right of Blacks to ride Philadelphia’s public streetcars.

Before ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, African Americans were not legally recognized as citizens of the United States, nor, for the most part, did they enjoy the rights and privileges that accompany citizenship. Although the amendment did not uphold racial segregation and discriminatory practices aimed at African Americans, these practices and prejudices existed throughout the Commonwealth and continued well into the twentieth century.

In spite of the Fourteenth Amendment, segregation in Pennsylvania continued after the close of the Civil War. The first legal case that challenged segregated facilities after the amendment’s enactment was heard before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in February 1876. Fields Cook, an African American minister from Alexandria, Virginia, arrived in Philadelphia on a January evening and proceeded to the Bingham House where he requested lodging. The clerk, Upton S. Newcomer, informed the minister that there were no vacancies, but allowed Cook to sit in a room adjoining his office. Accepting Newcomer’s offer, Cook observed eighteen individuals approach the desk, ask for accommodations, register, and proceed to their rooms. The next morning Cook asked if he had been denied lodging because he was “colored,” and Newcomer responded affirmatively. Cook took the matter to court because the Fourteenth Amendment granted equal protection of the law to all citizens. Now that Fourteenth Amendment recognized the Reverend Cook as a citizen of the United States, he could argue that his right to equal protection had been violated. Instructing the jury, Judge John Cadwalader (1805-1879) distinguished between the Commonwealth having desegregated streetcars in 1867, which resulted in LeCount’s victory, and the right of inns to refuse lodging based on race, the argument put forward by Cook. Cadwalader clearly expressed his belief that the Fourteenth Amendment should prevail and left the final decision to the jury, which found Newcomer guilty.

The ratification, in 1870, of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution had restored the vote to male African Americans. Ironically, on Election Day in 1871, as Catto was on his way to vote, he was murdered by a white male assailant, Frank Kelly.

Scholar and activist W. E. B. DuBois (1868-1963), author of The Philadelphia Negro (1899), was correct when he identified the problem of the twentieth century as “the color line.” For African Americans, the right to vote, equal educational opportunities, integrated public facilities, and participation in the political sphere continued to be defined along racial lines and would inform the movement for civil rights in Pennsylvania as it did throughout the nation. While Rosa Parks (1913-2005), whom Congress christened “The Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement” and Martin Luther King Jr. stand at the center of the nation’s twentieth-century civil rights movement, the struggle in Pennsylvania continued by confronting issues similar to those faced in the South. They may not have faced the fury of dogs and the humiliation of fire hoses, but often the attitudes and beliefs were equally hostile.

During the twentieth century, Pennsylvania’s African American population grew considerably, largely because of migrations from the South. Many men and women migrated to northern cities, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where cultural amenities and opportunities for economic advancement appeared abundant. Little did they know that the spirit of Jim Crow (state and local laws that mandated racial segregation) was alive and well north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Ku Klux Klan, for instance, claimed it had 17,000 members in the 1920s in western Pennsylvania. African Americans were not easily intimidated, however.

Churches, one of the few institutions that African Americans controlled, were the keystones of early twentieth-century Black communities. They not only provided meeting places, but also comfort against a backdrop of inequality and oppression. In the twentieth century, churches were joined by organizations and enterprises to further the cause for civil rights. Segregated schools, sports teams, garden clubs, beauty shops, and barbershops also brought African Americans together. In rural areas, with smaller Black populations, churches and social institutions arose later than in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. Contrary to popular belief, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was neither the oldest nor the only organization that advocated on behalf of Philadelphia’s Black population. In Philadelphia, with the largest African American population of any northern city in 1900, the Philadelphia Association for the Protection of Colored Women, established in 1905, worked to aid the females among the new migrants. Two influential African American newspapers, the Philadelphia Tribune and the Pittsburgh Courier, carried stories of courage and optimism.

African American activists, particularly women, established or worked with existing organizations to meet the needs of the Black populations in their particular areas. Daisy E. Lampkin epitomized the spirit of the new century, especially among women. She was active on numerous fronts, both in her adopted Pittsburgh and throughout the nation. Her activism is believed to have begun with hosting a women’s rights tea in her home in 1912, which led to her subsequent roles as a suffragist and member of the Negro Women’s Equal Franchise Federation, campaigning for women’s right to vote. With the right of women to vote achieved in 1920, Lampkin made the logical leap to direct involvement with politics, becoming chair of the Allegheny County Negro Women’s Republican League, vice chair of the Negro Voters League of Pennsylvania, and vice chair of the Colored Voters Division of the Republican National Committee. She did not restrict her activism to organizations; she also became critical to the success of the Pittsburgh Courier, first as a fundraiser and eventually becoming a vice president of the publishing company. Lampkin became the first field secretary for the NAACP in 1930 and has been credited with increasing the organization’s membership more than any other executive in the organization. From teas to stump speeches to fund raising and consciousness-raising, Lampkin has been described as “in herself an institution.”

Although not as well known as Lampkin, Ruth L. Bennett was a twentieth-century activist. Joined by fourteen women in Chester, Delaware County, Bennett organized an “improvement club” in 1914 and in 1917 opened the Home for Negro Girls, recently arrived from the South. She believed the young women deserved better than the only accommodation otherwise available to them, the county jail. In more remote and outlying areas, individuals took responsibility for the new arrivals’ care and guidance.

Opportunities in the workplace attracted people to Pennsylvania. Blacks sought work, especially in the industrial cities, only to find underemployment or unemployment. As would prove true throughout the twentieth century, unemployment rates of African Americans exceeded those for whites. Most Black women worked in the poorly paid domestic services or in some unskilled capacity. Men, similarly, would find factory doors closed to them – industry preferred to hire European immigrants after World War I. Few African Americans found employment in professional occupations. The Great Depression would make matters worse, the adversity of which would severely and disproportionately affect Pennsylvania’s Black population.

Access to equal educational opportunities held the key to unlock centuries of disadvantage caused by racial discrimination. Before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Pennsylvania’s African Americans used their considerable commitment by challenging segregated and inferior education. Schools became increasingly segregated as the century progressed, but employment for Black teachers, many of whom were women, did not follow. Instead, preference was given to white teachers of Black children. In Pittsburgh, African American teachers began to trickle into the school system in the 1940s and by the 1970s they comprised 10 percent of the school staffs. Achieving integration and quality education for students was less successful. Students were taught in separate buildings and instructed in manual training skills, since most whites believed them to be incapable of intellectual endeavors. In Philadelphia, one of the more spectacular instances of educational injustice had been allowed to exist for 120 years, from 1848 to 1968. Girard College was a private school for white males between the ages of six and eighteen. Arguing that the will of financier Stephen Girard (1750-1831) predated the Fourteenth Amendment and the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, the institution’s trustees stubbornly refused to admit African American males – and females of any racial group. Protesters demonstrated at the court house and outside of the school’s imposing wall, the construction of which was also stipulated by Girard in his will. While some victories transpired, quality education remained elusive for most African Americans in Pennsylvania.

Segregation, which was not confined to education, received increasing scrutiny by the 1950s. While there were no “White Only” and “Colored Only” signs to indicate a segregated facility in Pennsylvania, public places of business and recreation continued their distinctive Jim Crow approach that was informally in place. Pittsburgh’s Highland Park did not possess the legal authority to segregate, and the Reverend LeRoy Patrick (1915-2006), recognized by PHMC as a Trailblazer, was well aware of this fact when in 1951, joined by Alexander J. “Joe” Allen (1916-1984), executive secretary of the Urban League of Pittsburgh from 1950 to 1959, he led an interracial effort to integrate it. The white community responded by draining its pools and assaulting the children with bricks and rocks. However, Patrick and the various groups would not be deterred. They challenged segregated restaurants, department stores, and public institutions throughout the decade and well into the 1960s.

In the twentieth century, Black men and women achieved election and appointment to political offices in a manner that would propel African American and other communities forward in the quest for civil and human rights. C. Delores Tucker embodies many of the issues that African Americans faced and fought throughout this history. Like those who came before her, Tucker faced discrimination but met it with religion and resolve. She joined and became an officer in the NAACP, attended the White House Conference on Civil Rights in 1961, and chaired the Pennsylvania Black Democratic Committee. She understood the historical significance of her work to improve race relations and conditions for African Americans. Tucker was instrumental in founding the National Political Congress of Black Women, an organization that she later chaired. Perhaps it was only natural, given her involvement in civic affairs, that in 1971, Tucker would become the first African American in the nation to serve as secretary of the Commonwealth, a position that enabled her to promote voter registration by mail and involve more disenfranchised individuals in the political process. Her career in state government ended in ignominy, but Tucker persevered in promoting causes that she believed upheld the values and standards that African Americans and allies had struggled for over the centuries.

It might be suggested that the struggle for civil rights in its entirety culminated in the political arena. For African Americans, this process began in the seventeenth century with being defined as property, not human beings. They did not enjoy the protections afforded to citizens. The right of men to vote could be snatched away without their consent; women had no vote until the second decade of the twentieth century. There were no guarantees of a decent education; surmounting these obstacles seems Herculean, yet they did so.

Despite the color line, correctly identified by DuBois in 1903, progress finally came to Pennsylvania in the twentieth century. People in the past could not predict the future, but they could act to ensure that their descendants would no longer suffer from racism. Progress was a long time coming, fitful and uncertain, often ambiguous at best. Undaunted, Pennsylvania’s Black population exercised their determination and the will to secure constitutional and human rights not only for themselves but also for all who suffer from the absence of rights, civil and human, at the hands of injustice.


For Further Reading

Franklin, V. P. The Education of Black Philadelphia: The Social and Educational History of a Minority Community, 1900-1950. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979.

Hodge, Ruth E. Guide to African American Resources at the Pennsylvania State Archives . Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2000.

Lapsansky, Emma. Black Presence in Pennsylvania: “Making it Home.” State College: Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2001.

Lapsansky, Emma Jones. Neighborhoods in Transition: William Penn’s Dream and Urban Reality. New York: Garland Books, 1994.

Nash, Gary B. Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia’s Black Community, 1720-1840. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Soderlund, Jean R. Quakers and Slavery: A Divided Spirit. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Still, William. The Underground Railroad. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company, 1970.

Switala, William J. The Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole books, 2008.

Trotter, Joe William. The Great Migration in Historical Perspective: New Dimensions of Race, Class, and Gender. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1991.

Joe William Trotter Jr. and Eric Ledell Smith. African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives. Harrisburg and University Park: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.


The author and editor thank Scott Hancock, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Gettysburg College and Patricia Pugh Mitchell, Pittsburgh, historian and educator, for reviewing this article prior to publication. Both reviewers are members of PHMC’s Black History Advisory Committee.


Leslie Patrick is associate professor and chair in the department of history at Bucknell University in Lewisburg. She moved to Pennsylvania in 1986 from California, where she received a doctorate in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The author is a past president of the Pennsylvania Historical Association and has been involved with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as a member of its Black History Advisory Committee and a scholar-in-residence. She is currently a member of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Board. Her scholarly interests include crime and punishment in early America and African American history, especially in Pennsylvania. She lives with her two cats on fourteen acres near Mifflinburg and enjoys their company and gardening on a large scale.