December 14, 2007 |
Ever thought about the educators who taught you, your parents, your children or your grandchildren about American history - without ever mentioning that George Washington had slaves? Ever think about how many years you walked past Sixth and Market Streets with no clue that the father of our country kept at least nine Africans enslaved at that site, in what we now call the President's House? Millions of people have visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, only to walk away not knowing, or understanding, the story of slavery on this side of the Mason-Dixon line.
January 22, 2003 |
Smiling neighbors posed for newspaper photos that day 20 years ago when they placed a fancy plaque in Saddlertown, thrilled that their little corner of the world was finally in the limelight. The marker told the tale of the community founded by Joshua Saddler, a runaway slave helped to freedom by a Haddonfield Quaker; two blocks of small homes where roots go deep. But with yet another bow to the 21st century looming - this time it is soccer fields - resident Raymond Fussell is worried.
September 2, 1996 |
Labor Day is a fitting time to remember the uprooted Africans - as many as 20 million of them, some historians estimate - whose labor proved crucial to the survival of English, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Dutch colonies throughout the Americas. From the 1500s, West Africans and their descendants laid cobblestone streets in Peru, mined gold in Colombia, and raised sugar cane in the Caribbean. From the 1600s, they cleared land, built houses and cultivated corn, cotton, rice, tobacco, and other crops in what would become the United States.
November 6, 2008 |
There was a lovely breeze in Chicago's Grant Park on Tuesday evening - strong and steady; cool, not cold. The climate was in perfect order to greet the president-elect, as, astonishingly, were we, the people. The tens of thousands of us who had gathered there were decent to each other. There were cries of joy, tears aplenty and group embraces, but little pushing, jostling or ill temper. The common purpose of our celebration brought out the better angels of our nature. Even though our judgment of Obama's presidency is for the future, that should not diminish the joy we now feel at his election.
March 1, 2004 |
The tiny shackles - once used to confine a child, now rusted and powerless - drew horrified gasps. A woman was almost brought to tears by photographs of black men, whip-scarred or hanging limply, and smiling white faces behind them. "I just can't believe one human could treat another human this way," said Carmen Biollo, 29, looking away from the photographs. "In school, we touched on slavery briefly but you don't really see it. I've never seen photos like this before. It doesn't make sense to me. " Biollo, of Philadelphia, was one of hundreds of people who marked the end of Black History Month yesterday with a visit to the Independence Visitor Center's black history showcase, which included appearances by the Tuskegee Airmen and players from the Negro Leagues' Philadelphia Stars.
February 20, 2005 |
On the night of Dec. 14, 1820, four white men from Maryland tried to break into the home of John Reed, an African American living in Kennett Township, Chester County. Reed alleged that he was a freed slave and that the white men were going to return him to slavery in Maryland; the intruders claimed that he was a runaway slave and that they were entitled to take him back. Two of the men, Samuel Griffith and Peter Shipley, took the door off its hinges and entered the house. Reed shot Griffith with a pistol and clubbed Shipley.
May 19, 1999 |
Leni Ashmore Sorensen, the rough fabric of her long, 18th-century-style dress sweeping the ground, rubs a few handfuls of salt and pepper into the skin of a chicken. Then she lowers the bird into sizzling fat in a kettle nestled on burning kindling. This, Sorensen explains, is how cooking was done on Mulberry Row, a narrow, thousand-foot stretch of hillside that once was home to hundreds of men, women and children, most of them black slaves, at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's plantation.
July 10, 1994 |
For a black man playing a slave, every audience is a tough crowd. Whites fear he's going to make them feel guilty. Blacks often just turn away. For Larry Earl, 23, one of four very modern African Americans who dress in coarse-linen blouses and rough-leather shoes to dramatize a restored 18th- century slave quarters at Colonial Williamsburg, the disdain of black teenagers from South Philadelphia was particularly infuriating. "They said, 'Why should I listen to you? Look at how you're dressed.
July 3, 1998 |
Nursing sore feet but hoping to heal the country's racial divisions, a rag tag band of marchers arrived on Haddon Avenue in Camden yesterday, finishing about 300 miles of a journey that began near Amherst, Mass., and eventually is to take some of them all the way to Africa. The "Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage" so far has been a journey by foot and bus and began May 30. The numbers of marchers, of various races and religious convictions, have fluctuated from about 50 to more than 100 along the way. Their aim is to retrace the routes taken both by the old slave traders and by slaves fleeing to the North.
November 5, 1998 |
These days, William Pickens 3d doesn't see Thomas Jefferson as much of a role model. Instead, the descendant of another colonial-era interracial union - this one in Cheltenham, not at Monticello - thinks his own ancestors knew the proper way of handling the offspring of such a pairing. Tonight at Beaver College, Pickens will give a public lecture on how the union in the 1700s between local aristocrat Richard Morrey and one of his father's former slaves helped build, near what is now Limekiln Pike and Church Road, one of the earliest African American communities in the American colonies.