All month long, Philly is buzzing with activities in celebration of Black History Month. We thought we’d highlight a few events that tie in to the built environment.
Ongoing, Logan Square, Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 20th Street. The Association for Public Art has put together a Museum Without Walls audio exhibit that sheds light on the All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers. Download the audio online or via a mobile app to learn about the storied past of the memorial – which was originally placed so deep in Fairmount Park “you practically had to be lost to find out that the memorial existed” and later moved to its current home on The Parkway. Free.
Saturdays and Sundays in February. 4pm – 4:30pm. 2nd Bank Portrait Gallery, Chestnut St., between 4th and 5th Sts. Each weekend during February park rangers will lead 30-minute slideshows that explore the time in the 18th and 19th centuries when Philadelphia was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Guests will hear the stories of Richard Allen, William Stell, Henry “Box” Brown and others connected to this famous “network to freedom.” Free.
Lecture: Friday, February 7. 3pm – 5pm. Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Sullivan Hall, 1300 Polett Walk. Take some time to stop by The President’s House Site on Independence Mall. It was there that presidents George Washington and later John Adams lived in the 1790s. The site bears extra significance because Washington lived there with nine slaves, and today pieces of the original foundation are preserved.
To learn more, head to Temple University on Friday, February 7. Charles L. Blockson will discuss his latest publication, The President’s House Revisited Behind the Scenes. The book explores the life of a black man who worked as a spy, cook and steward for Washington at the President’s House. A book signing will follow the author’s talk. Free.
Thursday, February 20. 7pm – 9pm. Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Ave. African Methodist Episcopal buildings gave blacks the freedom to organize resistance from slavery in America and played an important role abroad as well. In Philadelphia, Mother Bethel AME Church became the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African Americans. This month, Cliveden Conversations hosts Rev. Dr. Mark Tyler, Pastor at Mother Bethel for a presentation on the importance of Richard Allen’s carving out a space for black independence through these churches and how the buildings became indispensable to the freedom movement. Suggested donation $5, reservations encouraged.
Thursday, February 27. 7pm. Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Ave. One week after Tyler speaks at Cliveden, Dr. George McDaniel, Director of Drayton Hall in South Carolina will discuss “Whole Place Preservation,” using Drayton Hall as an example. For seven generations Drayton Hall remained in the Drayton Family – from its founding in 1738 until 1974 when the home was sold to the National Trust. During that time, seven generations of the Bowen family lived and worked at Drayton Hall with hundreds of other people of African descent, both before and after emancipation. Suggested donation $5, reservations encouraged.
Monday, March 3. 6pm – 8:30pm. The Philadelphia History Museum, 15 South 7th St. As part of The Association of Philadelphia Tour Guide’s “A Guide’s View of Philadelphia 2014” lecture series, Diane D. Turner will speak at The Philadelphia History Museum. Turner is a curator at the Charles L. Blockson Collection at Temple University and author of A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City.