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Frances Harper

Frances Harper was an African American abolitionist and poet. Her talents and passion contributed to bring awareness of the Civil Rights struggle happening around the country. This roadtrip takes you to sites and destinations that celebrate the causes that she was a part of. Follow in the footsteps and pathways of Frances Harper.

Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia

As the City's official history museum, the Atwater Kent tells the story of Philadelphia’s 300-year history in the Experience Philadelphia! Gallery as well as in temporary exhibitions. The museum holds a collection of over 100,000 artifacts from personal items to epic pieces of history. The stories of Africans and African-Americans in Philadelphia are reflected in relics like a silver bowl that accompanied a slave child to Philadelphia in the 1690s, wrist shackles from the 1700s, African-American Quaker dolls from the early 1800s, a child's coffin from the First African Baptist Church cemetery in the 1830s, and a banner commemorating the life of post-Civil War civil rights leader Octavius V. Catto. These and many others are used to inspire curiosity and awe and a commitment to civic engagement and responsibility. The museum is undergoing extensive renovation and galleries will reopen in September 2011. The Atwater Kent Museum is close to Philadelphia’s legendary Washington Square Park. During the city's early years, Africans would regularly congregate in Washington Square Park, speaking in their native languages, cooking and dancing to the rhythms of their homeland. New interpretive signs are scattered throughout the park and reveal its history. Listen for the Djembe drum near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Square. Its beat carries memories of the enslaved Africans who were also gathered in the area and named it Congo Square.

Belmont Mansion – Fairmount

Judge Richard Peters inherited this 18th-century home from his father during the turmoil of the Revolutionary War. One of the first non-Quaker members of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Judge Peters entertained a number of leaders and dignitaries here, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. A restoration project converted the house into a museum. Visitors are able to tour the property and learn how the mansion became a vital part of the Underground Railroad and observe where inhabitants received freedom seekers and hid them in the third-floor attic. Judge Peters is credited with purchasing and then freeing an enslaved woman named Cornelia Wells and her daughter. A washerwoman, Wells later became an entrepreneur by selling her horseshoe-shaped ginger cakes and spruce beer. Today, descendants of Peters are active with the American Women's Heritage Society, the association that maintains the estate.

Johnson House – Germantown

A station stop along the Underground Railroad, the Johnson House was the residence of a Quaker family with ardent anti-slavery beliefs who hid runaways throughout the 1800s. Visitors can examine the nooks and crevices where freedom seekers were tucked away, including an attic trap door leading to the roof, which archeologists discovered within the last few years. Special events and exhibitions provide additional insight into the staunchly abolitionist views of the Germantown section of Philadelphia. And don’t forget to check out a historic marker just a few blocks south, at 5109 Germantown Avenue, it is a marker commemorating Francis Daniel Pastorius, a prolific writer fluent in seven languages and the leader of America's first formal anti-slavery protest.

Eat Here
City Tavern - Old City, Philadelphia

Enjoy authentic colonial dining-think pewter goblets, hard bread-in the very spot John Adams and Paul Revere imbibed some revolutionary ale. Superb food, wait staff in period dress and a tidy little gift shop make this the perfect dining experience right in Philadelphia's Old City. Raise a glass to toast the efforts of the countless heroes who fought for peaceful days like this.

Sleep Here
Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing – Philadelphia

Its prime waterfront location, provides easy access to the Convention Center, Liberty Bell, Constitution Center, and many historic attractions. Walking distance from shopping, entertainment and amazing dining in the popular "Old City" historic area.

African American Museum of Philadelphia

Celebrating its 35-year anniversary, The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major United States city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans. With collections that include diaries, furniture, and period clothing it houses the stories of African American women and the families they raised. Check out their award-winning exhibit, Audacious Freedom, an interactive experience that guides you through important moments of the African American history. Best of all, you’ll find it right amongst the hustle and bustle of busy Center City, Philadelphia.

Independence National Historical Park & Liberty Bell Center – Philadelphia

The most historic square mile in the most historic city in America. Independence National Historical Park, locally referred to as Independence Mall, covers several blocks of Old City Philadelphia. All of the park buildings and sites are associated with colonial Philadelphia and the American Revolution. Major attractions include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Second Bank of the U.S., Franklin Court, and City Tavern. Spanning approximately 45 acres, the park has about 20 buildings open to the public. Independence Hall became an important place for abolition protest against federal laws. Philadelphians assembled outside in anticipation of verdicts pertaining slavery law cases, the most famous being the trial of the Christiana Riot, which took place near Lancaster (1851). Abolitionists adopted the iconic Liberty Bell and its inscription from Leviticus-"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof"-as symbols of their movement to end the institution of slavery. The Liberty Bell was known as the State House Bell until William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper coined its now famous name. Look out for the storytelling benches of Once Upon A Nation sprinkled throughout the Historic District. More than just a place to rest, the benches feature modern-day storytellers sharing tales such as how abolitionist, businessman, and author William Still was reunited with his brother Peter, one of countless enslaved people who purchased their own freedom. The storytellers weave their tales from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.

The President's House Commemorative Site - Philadelphia

This site is just steps away from the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall, The President's House Commemorative Site is a permanent, outdoor installation honoring the memory of the nine Africans who were enslaved to President George Washington when he lived here from 1790-1797. Our forefathers fought hard to attain freedom for "We the People" but in identifying the people who would enjoy those freedoms, they refused to directly address the question of slavery. And so in one of our nation's great paradoxes, Washington kept nine enslaved Africans in the President's House he lived in from 1790 to 1797. That this occurred only steps from Independence Hall is all the more contradictory.

Eat Here
Fork - Old City, Philadelphia

Open 7 days a week, Fork is a nationally acclaimed New American bistro offering delicious food that is seasonal, fresh and inventive. The menu is printed daily and reflects international influences from around the world. Fork uses only the highest quality ingredients, many of which are supplied by local farmers from throughout the Philadelphia area.

Sleep Here
Omni Hotel Independence Park - Old City, Philadelphia

Independence Park Hotel. This hotel is located in the center of Old City and near shopping, some of the city's best restaurants and within blocks of the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center.

Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church – Philadelphia

Located on the oldest parcel of land under continuous African American ownership, Mother Bethel houses a museum, including such artifacts as founder Reverend Richard Allen's original pulpit, personal belongings and crypt. Allen preached abolition as early as 1795, and with the help of his wife Sarah, secured food and shelter for newly freed slaves and runaways. Records indicate that as recently as a few years ago, the congregation still included descendants of escaped slaves assisted by Mother Bethel and its sympathizers. While visiting Mother Bethel, don’t forget to check out these nearby historic markers: At 6th and Lombard Streets, stands a historic marker dedicated to the Free African Society, founded by wealthy sail maker James Forten Sr. and Reverends Richard Allen and Absolom Jones. The Society's concepts of identity and unity among the Black community became the forerunner for the nation's first African American churches and civil rights institutions. A few blocks away, at 336 Lombard Street, another marker specifically honors James Forten, who is believed to have amassed a fortune exceeding $100,000 utilizing a multi-ethnic work force. Additionally, he helped organize the first Negro Convention in Philadelphia in 1830.

Eden Cemetery – Collingdale

Eden Cemetery is a historic African-American cemetery located in Collingdale, Delaware Country, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. It is the oldest African-American-owned cemetery in the United States. It was established June 20, 1902. When other black cemeteries in Philadelphia were condemned by the city in the early 20th century, including the Olive Graveyard, Lebanon Graveyard, and Stephen Smith Home Burial Ground, the bodies were re-interred at Eden. The cemetery is still in operation. Among the notables interred here are African-American writer, lecturer and abolitionist Frances Harper (1825-1911), a tireless freedom worker and advocate for women rights. Frances published her first book of poetry when she was twenty. At age 67 she published her first novel, the widely praised “IoLa Leroy” one of the first written by an African-American woman. She was also a strong supporter of women’s suffrage.

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia

Formed on June 12, 1796, by twenty of Philadelphia's intellectual leaders, the First Unitarian Society of Philadelphia was the first continuously functioning church in the country to proclaim itself "Unitarian". The founders were directed and encouraged by the Unitarian minister Joseph Priestley, better known as the father of modern chemistry for his discovery of oxygen. The small but growing congregation was lay-led until 1825, when William Henry Furness was persuaded to serve as its first minister, a role he held for 50 years. Rev. Furness became one of the few abolitionist ministers in the city. Unitarians were supporters of the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Frances Harper joined this church when she moved back to Philadelphia from Ohio in 1870.

Eat Here
Tria - Philadelphia

Philadelphia's wine, cheese and beer café. Catch a seat outside and people watch while you sample the ever changing menu of this Philly hot-spot. Cabernet and Carmignano? Don't worry, the friendly staff will help guide you through a memorable wine, cheese and beer experience.

Sleep Here
Rittenhouse 1715 – Philadelphia

Located on a small quiet street in the very heart of Philadelphia's most fashionable district, it's also within walking distance to many of the city's world-class restaurants, cafes, museums and of course unique boutique shopping.