Tour the Center City Underground Railroad Sites

Saturday October 25, 2014
Tour Center City
Underground Railroad Sites

This tour is an introduction to some amazing people, places and events. We will discuss the significance of each site as we drive to places where buildings stood and incidents took place. Gather at Mother Bethel AME Church, 419 S. 6th Street at 12:30pm, bus leaves at 1pm, we should be back by 4pm.

The Richard Allen Museum of Mother Bethel AME Church is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation and presentation of public documents and artifacts that chronicle Richard Allen¹s founding of Mother Bethel and the subsequent development of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Tours are free, but donations are encouraged.

Lombard Street Riot
6th & Lombard Streets
Here on August 1, 1842 an angry mob of whites attacked a parade celebrating Jamaican Emancipation Day. A riot ensued. African Americans were beaten and their homes looted. The rioting lasted for 3 days. A local church & abolition meeting place were destroyed by fire.

Free African Society
6th & Lombard
Established in 1787 under the leadership of Richard Allen and Absolom Jones, this organization fostered identity, leadership, and unity among Blacks and became the forerunner of the first African-American churches in this city.

James Forten
336 Lombard Street
A wealthy sail maker who employed multi-racial craftsmen, Forten was a leader of the African-American community in Philadelphia and a champion of reform causes. The American Antislavery Society was organized in his house here in 1833.

Robert Purvis
270 Lombard
An Abolitionist, Purvis fought for the rights of blacks through his lecturing, writing, and activity in antislavery societies. As an agent for the Underground Railroad, he built a secret area at his house to hide slaves.

Jacob White
1032 Lombard Street
A Black educator White was the principal of the Robert Vaux School for forty years. He was a founder of the city’s first Black baseball club, the Pythians, and the first president of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital

Octavius V. Catto
812 South Street
An early graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth, Catto was an educator, Union army major and political organizer. In 1871 he was assassinated by rioters while urging Blacks to vote.

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield
1013 Rodman Street
Greenfield was one of the 19th century’s leading singers, known as the “Black Swan” because of her great vocal range. Her performances were hailed in the U.S. and in England where she sang before the Queen.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
1006 Bainbridge
An author, lecturer, and social activist, Harper lived here and devoted her life to championing the rights of slaves and free Blacks. She advocated education as a way of advancement for Black Americans.

William Still
244 S 12th St
While living here, he was an Underground Railroad agent who helped slaves escape and kept records so relatives could find them later. A wealthy coal merchant, Still also helped found the first Black YMCA.

Philadelphia History Museum
15 South 7th Street
Experience the city’s past at the recently renovated Philadelphia History Museum in the historic 1826 building.

Independence Hall
520 Chestnut Street
This was the Pennsylvania State House and housed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court where the trials related to the Christiana Riot and the Jane Johnson affair took place.

Philadelphia Female Anti- Slavery Society
107 N 5th Street
Organized in 1833 this interracial society originally consisted of sixty women who sought to end slavery. After the Civil War, the society supported the cause of the freed slaves.

Lucretia C. Mott
136 N. Ninth St
Home of the Lucretia C. Mott (1793-1880) who led the way in progressive work including antislavery, women’s rights, temperance and peace.

Pennsylvania Hall
6th & Haines Streets
Built on this site in 1838 by the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society as a meeting place for abolitionists, this hall was burned to the ground by anti-black rioters three days after it was first opened.

Pennsylvania Abolition Society
Front Street between Walnut & Chestnut
Founded here, 1775, as the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. In 1787 it became the Pennsylvania Abolition Society which sought social, educational and employment opportunities for Blacks.

Liberation of Jane Johnson
Penn’s Landing at Seaport Museum
In 1855, an enslaved woman and her two sons found freedom aided by abolitionists William Still, Passmore Williamson, and other Underground Railroad activists.

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5 Comments » for Tour the Center City Underground Railroad Sites
  1. sarah ricks says:

    I would like to register for the October 25 tour of the UGRR sites in Center City.

  2. Mae Laster says:

    This is exciting! How does a person sign up for the event?

  3. Mae Laster says:

    This is exciting! How does a person sign up for the event?
    This is the first time that I have left a comment or question.

  4. Mae Laster says:

    Waiting for a response…

  5. Kat Eyerly says:

    The only events you need to register for are the tours, which tickets can be purchased by clicking on which tour you want to register for in the schedule of events (from the home page scroll down and click “learn more” then scroll down and under “Appendices” there is a “Schedule of Events”). For all other events you can just show up.