Revolution & Reaction (Philadelphia and America)

Saturday October 25, 2014

7:00pm – District 1199C Philadelphia Headquarters, 1319 Locust St

Revolution & Reaction (Philadelphia and America)

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Lombard Street Riot      Pennsylvania Hall      Pennsylvania Hall Burning

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Pennsylvania State House       Columbia Avenue 1964

This last discussion is on the big picture, the contradiction that is America; a discussion about history, race and class, after a month of programs on the details of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. Our discussion is between historians and sociologists who look for meaning in our past and present. We live in a world of contradiction; that world is reflected in Philadelphia and in a single incident in 1837, the building and destruction of Pennsylvania Hall. This has become my symbol for Philadelphia and for America. Revolutionary enough to build Pennsylvania Hall (emblazoned with the motto “Virtue, Liberty and Independence” and reactionary enough to burn it down three days later because men and women, black and white were meeting together.

In Philadelphia: in 1688, the first anti-slavery petition was created; in 1775 the Pennsylvania Abolition Society was formed and Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense; in 1776 the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting banned its members from owning slaves; in 1785 the Free African Society was formed; in 1794 Mother Bethel AME Church was founded; 1830’s brought Philadelphia Vigilant Society, the 1850’s, the Philadelphia Vigilance Society; the 1860’s Equal Rights League. The 1830’s and 1840’s also brought anti-black race riots where people were killed and churches were burned. This same contradiction of progressive and reactionary forces showed itself during the Civil Rights Movement and continues today. Can we resolve our contradictions?

Invited Presenters include: Randall Miller, Professor of History at St. Joseph’s University; Beverly Tomek, Houston-Victoria University, author of Pennsylvania Hall; Heather Williams, Presidential Professor at University of Pennsylvania; John L. Jackson, Jr., Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice’

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