April 20, 2016
ISSUE | HISTORY Site threatened Sunday's Memory Stream column made vivid the role of William Still in conveying slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad (" 'That glorious humanitarian institution' "). That Still chronicled this history through his journals is even more remarkable. Among the details captured in Still's journals is a tribute to George Corson, a Quaker from Plymouth Meeting best known as the builder of Abolition Hall. Corson and others from his extended family were conductors on the Underground Railroad, and George and his wife, Martha Maulsby Corson, sheltered runaway slaves in their home, barn, and fields.
July 30, 2014 |
Neighbors opposing the proposed demolition of the William Penn Inn in Lower Merion presented information Monday suggesting that the building might have harbored runaway slaves. At a meeting of the township Historical Commission, a resident of the inn showed photographs of a trapdoor panel and a hiding place between the second and third floors. Gerald A. Francis, president of the Lower Merion Historical Society, said it would be nearly impossible to prove that runaways passed through, but "it would make sense" given its location near other known safe houses.
September 22, 2012
By William C. Kashatus One hundred fifty years ago Saturday, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, stating his intention to free all slaves in the Confederate states that did not return to Union control by the first of the new year. None returned, and the order took effect on Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation made abolition a central aim of the war. It also presented the Religious Society of Friends with a fundamental conflict: how to further a longtime commitment to human equality without violating their historic Peace Testimony.
May 11, 2012 |
Lawnside's Peter Mott House will be closed to visitors Saturday, as a beloved civic leader who saved the structure from demolition is laid to rest in the borough whose history he championed. Clarence Still Jr., patriarch of an illustrious African American family whose annual reunions he organized for decades, died Friday at age 83. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Lawnside, with burial to follow in the church cemetery. "It's a great loss," Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow said.
May 31, 2009 |
On the first Monday of spring in 1867, the new principal of a Philadelphia elementary school stepped to the corner of 11th and Lombard Streets with her assistant. The teachers heard the clip-clop of hooves and saw a yellow streetcar lumbering up the 11th Street tracks. Caroline R. Le Count took a breath of the cool air and called out to the conductor to stop. Horse-drawn streetcars, a popular hybrid of animal and rail, were the primary way to get around cities - and a natural focus for efforts to expand civil rights.
January 31, 2008 |
The tricky part was the fence - both for the title character of Rachel Harris: One Woman Over The Line, and for Diane Matthews, the show's creator. The West Chester Dance Works production mixes modern dance, live music, storytelling, visual arts and history to tell the story of a runaway slave who temporarily settled in West Chester during the 1830s. It premieres tomorrow at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, the first of three local performances. Matthews, 52, of West Chester has struggled with details, such as how to present Harris' escape scene, in which she climbs a 7-foot fence to flee her former owner.
April 24, 2005 |
Self-reliance is the Fine Road to Independence. - Motto of the Provincial Freeman; Mary Ann Shadd Cary, publisher. The name Mary Ann Shadd Cary may not ring too many historical bells. But thanks to two local women, Penny Washington and Robyn Young, her story will be highlighted in brief on a historical marker erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission soon. The marker will be placed at High and Barnard Streets in West Chester. "Mary Ann Cary was a dedicated woman with strong convictions about ending slavery in our country.
February 7, 2005 |
As slaves escaped north through Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, a local man named William Still carefully recorded their firsthand stories and hid the papers in a crypt for safekeeping. After slavery was abolished, Still, the son of emancipated slaves, published the stories with letters and drawings in The Underground Rail Road. Scholars and historians believe the 1872 book is the first and most authoritative on the subject - yet it had been out of print since 1970. But a chance encounter a few years ago between a publisher and a Still descendant resulted in a new edition, released this month and celebrated Saturday at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
April 18, 2004 |
In September 1851, Maryland farmer Edward Gorsuch and a posse of men rode into Christiana, Pa., to retrieve some runaway slaves. All did not go as planned. Before the end of the morning, Gorsuch was dead and a number of men in his party were badly wounded, shot by an armed contingent of escaped slaves and white abolitionists. The incident would become known as the Christiana Riot and would be recorded as the first deadly confrontation arising from the Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress the year before.
January 2, 2004 |
More than 100 years before the modern civil rights movement, black and white activists joined together to oppose the evil of slavery, and New Jersey played an important role. Their resistance to oppression was called the Underground Railroad. According to tradition, the term derived from slaveholders' complaints that runaway slaves seemed to vanish into thin air, as if whisked away on some invisible, underground railroad. In reality, the Underground Railroad was a secret network of courageous men and women who assisted runaways; hid them and sheltered them in barns, attics, and crawl spaces; and transported them in boats and wagons.