Toward Freedom: Pittsburgh Blacks, 1800-1870

Throughout the antebellum period in the United States, two of the most volatile issues were the abolition of slavery and Blacks’ civil rights. Conventions, meetings, and written memorials to state and federal governmental bodies regarding these concerns abounded. Both Black and white residents of cities and towns became involved in the slavery question, while Black residents, primarily,...
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The Emergence of Black Religion in Pennsylvania, 1776-1850

The emergence of Black churches at the beginning of the nineteenth century was crucial to the survival of Black people in Pennsylvania and in the North because it provided two key resources. First, it provided a sense of meaning and destiny grounded in hope. Secondly, the Black church provided the institutional base for the economic, social, and political struggle of Blacks, including the...
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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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Blacks and the Labor Movement in Pennsylvania: The Beginnings

I It is important to understand the relationship be­ tween Black and white labor from the time of slavery to the Civil War in order to understand the position of Blacks in the early labor movement. Since the early trade unions were primarily for skilled workers, the elimination of Blacks from the skilled trades helps explain their absence from the unions. In addition, the conflict between white...
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The Search by Blacks For Employment and Opportunity: Industrial Education in Philadelphia

I Historian Sol Cohen describes the industrial­-education movement at the end of the nineteenth century as an effort to relegate the new immigrant to the lower levels of society. Placing emphasis on the “status rivalry” between the middle-class progressives and the new immigrant, Cohen views industrial education as the means used by the progressives to keep the immi­grant in his...
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The Resurrection of Henry Ossawa Tanner

The annals of American art are crowded with artists who achieved renown in their life­times, but whose reputations – for a variety of reasons – faded after their demise. No story is more poignant than that of Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), a gifted African American painter who grew up in Philadelphia, but, to escape painful discrimination, pursued his career in France. Henry Ossawa...
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Loose the Woman and Let Her Go! Pennsylvania’s African American Women Preachers

Because of the highly developed religious systems of Africa, slaves transported. to the New World continued to practice their religious rites and traditions, even though they were in a strange land. The similarity of the Biblical experiences, such as prophets, visitations, and miracles, to African religious beliefs was of great interest to the slaves as they heard plantation owners talk about...
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Crystal Bird Fauset Raises Her Voice for Human Rights

Power surrounds the woman. It dwells within her, emanates from her, and yet, is very subtly hidden. Anyone who comes near Mrs. Fauset feels her greatness – in the sweep of her very alert glance, in the charm of her ready smile, in the warm sincerity of her hand clasp, and in her voice – like crisp staccato music, mellowed.” Attracted by her magnetism, a writer for the Chicago...
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The Difference This Day Makes

On February 1 of this past year, a day of crisp blue skies and mild chill, voices swelled above the Liberty Bell as they have every first day of February for the last fifty-five years. With prayer and in song – and in remembrance, determination, and hope – African Americans in Philadelphia celebrated National Freedom Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment to...
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Bookshelf

Keystone of Democracy: A History of Pennsylvania Workers Howard Harris, editor, Perry K. Blatz, associate editor Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1999 (361 pages; cloth, 24.95; paper, 16.95) “Our greatest debt is to past, current, and future generations of Pennsylvania workers. In telling their story in these pages, we honor their efforts to define and sustain the promise of...
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