Antebellum Philadelphia: On the Edge of North and South

  • October 26, 2019
  • 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • 3rd and Delancey, Northeast Corner
  • 12

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As the closest free-black city just north of the Mason-Dixon line, Philadelphia was a critical safe-haven before the Civil War. Yet the city's location also made it a lucrative target for kidnappers who sold free blacks into slavery. Philadelphians themselves were likewise divided; the city was home to both a vigorous Abolitionist community, and an upper class with strong social and commercial ties to the South.

To gain a better understanding of the situation, we will walk in the footsteps of two women; a high-society white woman (Minnie Jones), and a free black woman (Inez Cassey), both born and raised on the same streets yet experiencing the same place very differently. We will visit places of importance to each woman and ponder how each of their societies helped form their attitudes and prospects. Ultimately, we will look beyond the ideal of Philadelphia as a “safe haven” and find clues back to a time filled with racial strife and the earliest days of Civil Rights activism, as well as Philadelphia’s close connections to Southern businesses and plantations.

Starting point: 3rd and Delancey, Northeast Corner

Questions, concerns, conundrums? Contact Hidden City Project Director Pete Woodall at 267-259-7112.


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