Philly's history runs deep in diversity, the places listed below represent the achievements and struggles of Philadelphia's African Americans. Visitors to these sites can gain a better understanding of the events and contributions of African-Americans to the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia's African-American Historic Homes
- If the walls of the Johnson House Historic Site could talk, they would recount harrowing stories of runaway enslaved Africans who hid in the attic on their flight to freedom. Owned by three generations of Quaker abolitionists, the Johnson House hosted such freedom fighters as Harriet Tubman and William Still as guests. It also served as a safe haven for the enslaved. Various slavery artifacts, including collars and ankle shackles, are on display in rooms that feature history lectures, art shows and other special programs. 6306 Germantown Avenue, (215) 438-1768
- Across the street from the Union Baptist Church, where a young contralto once thrilled churchgoers with her voice, is the Marian Anderson House. Purchased by Anderson in 1924, the modest home is packed with memorabilia of the opera star’s musical career; including her piano; performance gowns; rare photos; and films about her life and her trailblazing performances at Carnegie Hall, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. 762 S. Marian Anderson Way (Martin Street), (215) 779-4219, marianandersonhistoricalsociety.weebly.com
- The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation explores the paradox of slavery and freedom at the nation’s first executive mansion, in which Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived during their terms and where nine enslaved people served the first president. Through timelines and video vignettes, the Independence National Historical Park’s open-air installation provides different perspectives of this complex and powerful story just steps from the Liberty Bell Center. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- The home of the abolitionist Judge Richard Peters, who opposed the Fugitive Slave Act and whose precedent-setting court decision enabled 134 enslaved Africans to become free persons in Pennsylvania, has been preserved and transformed into the Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion. Visitors can take a self-guided or docent-led tour of this Underground Railroad site, view historical artifacts and hear narratives about the site’s history. 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive, (215) 878-8844, belmontmansion.org