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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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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Currents

Journey in Time Prom the first interior scenes of Pennsbury Manor, in which light seems to caress each object-pewter bowl, chair, blanket chest-viewers of “Historic Pennsylvania: A Journey to America’s Past” will know this is masterful cinematography. As the camera moves a short distance from the mansion’s front door to the lush banks of the Delaware River, a dazzling...
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Executive Director’s Message

The Underground Railroad – the escape to freedom by slaves before the Civil War – remains one of the most compelling stories in American history. A unique blend of historical fact and colorful folklore contribute to an enduring message of hope, courage, and ingenuity in the face of persecution and adversity. Pennsylvania’s central role in the Underground Railroad is undeniable....
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Two Stationmasters on the Underground Railroad: A Tale of Black and White

As clerk of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society’s General Vigilance Committee, William Still (1821-1902) had grown accustomed to surprises. Not only did the young, free black abolitionist coordinate the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad by finding shelter and escape routes to the North for fugitive slaves, but also he recorded their heart wrenching stories of inhumane treatment...
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From the Editor

After a long winter of brutal back-to-back snowstorms, and a cool spring, summer is finally here! And what better time to discover all that Pennsylvania has to offer travelers of all ages! This edition of Pennsylvania Heritage is your “go to” guide for exploring the Keystone State’s culture and heritage-especially our African American history. The Pennsylvania Historical and...
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Black History in Pennsylvania: An Overview

One of the more enduring outcomes of “Black History in Pennsylvania: Communities in Common,” the annual theme adopted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) for 2010, is a history study that examines more than three centuries of African American life, culture, and experience in the Keystone State. This expansive document explores, in detail, the daily life, work, struggles,...
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Remembering Place: Black National Historic Landmarks in Pennsylvania

The National Historic Landmarks (NHL) program was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and refined by amendments to it in 1980. The federal law requires the U.S. Department of the Interior to certify the historic authenticity of NHLs based on strident criteria, including association with events, people, and great ideas; distinguishing characteristics in architectural or...
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Letters

Compelling in Themselves Having caught up, belatedly, with the Spring 2010 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage, I am bowled over with the depth of its coverage of Black history in the Commonwealth. Cumberland Willis Posey’s fortitude and subsequent enrichment of the broad community, the tales of so many brave civil rights activists, including the remarkable Forten women, aided by my favorite Quaker...
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