For stunning late Victorian Gothic Revival architecture combined with fascinating social history, it's tough to beat Church of the Advocate at 18th and Diamond, the final stop on this tour but the first thing we want to tell you about (we didn't want to bury the lede!). The church's progressive social practices began at its founding with the abolition of "pew rents" and reached their height in the 1960s and 70s when it hosted the Conference of Black Power, the Black Panther Conference and the first ordination of women in the Episcopal church. We'll step inside the church's magnificent sanctuary, where a series of 14 murals painted in the 1970s depict scenes from the African-American experience in the company of guide Judith Robinson, a longtime resident of neighboring Strawberry Mansion.
The tour will begin at Broad and Master, site of famed 19th century Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest's mansion and now home to the Freedom Theater. We'll walk up Broad Street from there, and talk about Father Divine, the Columbia Avenue riots, Reverend Leon Sullivan's program of African-American economic empowerment, the long lost Monument Cemetery, Temple University's recent construction and expansion plans, plus a whole lot more. You'll never look at Philly the same way again. We guarantee it!