Historic Overview of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia, a Lecture by Charles L. Blockson
Wednesday Oct 15, 3pm
Temple University, 1330 Polett Walk
Charles L. Blockson has distinguished himself as a historian dedicated to Black history, amassing one of the largest private collections of African-American history in the United States, a collection he donated to Temple University in 1984 which has one of the largest collections on the Underground Railroad in the nation. His enslaved relatives were assisted by the legendary conductors Harriet Tubman and William Still on their way to Canada to freedom. Historian Blockson is considered one of the foremost experts on the Underground Railroad. He is author The Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania, The Underground Railroad: First-Person Narratives of Escapes to Freedom in the North, Hippocrene Guide to the Underground Railroad and African Americans in Pennsylvania: Above Ground and Underground—An Illustrated Guide. Though Mr. Blockson has written many magazine articles, in 1984, the article he wrote for National Geographic, “Escape from Slavery: Underground Railroad,” was the first cover story pertaining to African-American people and one the most popular stories in the history of the National Geographic magazine. He worked with the Cartography Department of National Geographic travelling throughout the United States, Canada and Caribbean to create an illustrated map on the Underground Railroad. He was the Chairperson of the National Park Service Underground Railroad Advisory Committee where he recommended the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Corridor. He has worked diligently to promote the preservation of landmarks central to African-American history for 40 years. He is author of twelve books the latest of which is The President’s House Revisited, Behind the Scenes: the Samuel Fraunces Story (2014).