Samuel Yellin: With a Hammer for a Pencil

When Samuel Yellin opened his Arch Street Metal worker’s Studio in Philadelphia in 1920, most who shared his ancient craft had abandoned their tools in favor of other pursuits. Yellin was a blacksmith – he insisted on calling himself that, although clients flocked to him for his sculptural and artistic skill, rather than to have horses shod or plows mended. From his shop poured the...
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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 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 immi¬≠grant in his...
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Fanny M. Jackson and Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth

This idea was deep in my soul. Where it came from I cannot tell. It was in me to get an education and teach my people.” The sentiment was written nearly a century ago, in 1912, by Fanny M. Jackson Coppin (1837-1913), principal of Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth (ICY). All but forgotten today, Coppin and her distinguished career of nearly four decades at the Institute for...
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