Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Category: Black History Month

Reinterpreting the Underground Railroad: The Sherman’s Dale Discharge Former Slaves’ Graves Site

In my short time as an archaeologist working in southeast Pennsylvania, I’ve learned that every basement, crawl space, and root cellar older than 1860 was at one time, a stop on the Underground Railroad (UGRR).  This of course is not true, but the mythologies of the UGRR are born out of the fact that the region played an important role in the network as the first free state north of the Mason-Dixon line. 

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Offbeat Outing: The Green Book in Philadelphia

Some of my colleagues are known to check their Facebook accounts while they drink their morning coffee, and on more than one occasion that has resulted in a Facebook message or email with the subject line “I have a great idea…” One of these great ideas led to one of the more interesting, informative, and eye-opening surveys I’ve done – Green Book locations in Philadelphia. Continue reading

Three Centuries of the Dennis Farm: Looking Forward, Part 1

This month I am switching up our usual format to provide you with a two-part Shout Out about the great work happening at the Dennis Farm, an 18th century African American farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.  It makes sense to learn more about this amazing place during African American History Month from Denise Dennis, President & CEO of the Dennis Farm Charitable Trust, which is the farm’s 21st century caretaker.

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Unearthing the Forgotten Past at Pandenarium, Site 36ME0253

Growing up in a small northwestern Pennsylvania town, I always assumed that while our local history was important to us – it didn’t always carry the same import to the world beyond.  As so often happens, I was wrong and, in this case, willingly so.  In graduate school, I was fortunate enough to work on a local archaeological site with national, even international implications on our understanding of a shared history.

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Smokin’ Joe Frazier and Pennsylvania’s Boxing History

On February 5, 2013, the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Board gave their support to heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier’s Philadelphia gym for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. That’s one step closer to official recognition for not just the man but also the gym where he trained for most of his career and later shared his skill and experience with Philly’s youth. Continue reading

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