Philadelphia Is An African American Experience

Part 1 - Historic Places in the Philadelphia Area

Philadelphia has long been known as an important center for African American history and culture. This was true in the 18th century when Philadelphia had the largest free black population and was the center of the abolitionist movement, and it holds true today, as Philadelphia is led by its second African American Mayor, John Street, and a new generation of professionals. The following is a look into the Philadelphia story that began centuries ago:

Historic Places

  • African American Sites of Significance: Patriot Trail - Visitors can retrace the trail of the Underground Railroad with a self-guided, driving tour provided by the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau. Full tour available online.
  • Blue Horizon - In 1999, the Blue Horizon was named the #1 boxing venue in the world, and is used as a stepping stone for amateurs to the professional ranks. It's now been converted to a hotel. 1312-16 Broad Street.
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania - The society contains numerous documents relating to African American history and the anti-slavery movement. It also houses several documents by William Still, one of the most successful African Americans in Philadelphia’s history and author of The Underground Railroad. 1300 Locust Street, (215) 732-6200
  • Johnson House Historic Site - In the 19th century, the Johnson House served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and a meeting place for abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman and William Still. The house is one of the only Underground Railroad sites in the region with an interpretive program open to the public. 6306 Germantown Avenue, (215) 438-1768
  • Library Company of Philadelphia - Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, the Library Company of Philadelphia is the nation’s first cultural institution providing thorough collections of rare books, manuscripts and prints. The Library Company has one of the most comprehensive collections by and about African Americans which pre-dates the Civil War. 1314 Locust Street, (215) 546-3181
  • Marian Anderson Historical Residence - The first residence purchased by Marian Anderson in 1924 is filled with memorabilia and rare photos of the singer. Tours by appointment. 762 S. Marian Anderson Way (Martin Street), (215) 779-4219 & (267) 908-3790
  • Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church - The church, founded by Richard Allen in 1731, stands on the oldest parcel of land in America continuously owned by African Americans, and is the mother church of the African-Methodist Episcopal Denomination. 6th & Lombard Streets, (215) 925-0616
  • Paul Robeson Home & Historic Marker - Robeson’s former home is now a museum where his sheet music, period furnishings and photographs are displayed. Tours by appointment. 4951 Walnut Street, (215) 747-3242
  • Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper - Founded in 1884, the Tribune is America’s oldest and Greater Philadelphia’s largest newspaper serving the African American community. Historic overview available upon request. 520 S. 16th Street, (215) 893-4095
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