Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Oct 9 2015

150 Years Since The 13th Amendment Passed: Historic Philadelphia's African-American Experience Is More Moving Than Ever

America’s Most Historic Square Mile Tells A Rich Story About Free Blacks, Enslaved Africans And African-Americans

Philadelphia reveals undertold chapters in the nation’s history, including the challenges, injustices, accomplishments and contributions of Africans and African-Americans during the United States’ early years. This year, the National Constitution Center commemorates the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery (the original document is on display) and the beginning of the Reconstruction Era.

Visitors to America’s “Most Historic Square Mile” can discover the more complete story of African-Americans at these moving sites:

Museums & Attractions:

  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African descent throughout the African diaspora. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380,
  • At Independence Seaport Museum, Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River uses the city’s eastern river to uncover the African experience in Philadelphia, along the themes of enslavement, emancipation, Jim Crow and Civil Rights. The 300-year story unfolds through recently uncovered artifacts from the museum’s own collection and compelling first-person accounts. Penn’s Landing, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655,
  • The Liberty Bell Center examines the connection between the Liberty Bell and African-American history. Exhibitions, videos and interactive displays explain how the abolitionist movement adopted the icon of freedom based on the inscribed quote from Leviticus—“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof”—as a symbol of its anti-slavery activities. Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell traveled around the country to expositions to help heal the divisions of the Civil War. It reminded Americans of earlier days when they worked together for independence. 5th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 965-2305,
  • Founded by Bishop Richard Allen in 1794, Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church sits on the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African-Americans and is the “Mother” church of the nation’s first black denomination. The museum houses artifacts dating back to the original building and traces the history and international growth of the AME church. Bishop Allen’s tomb is also in the museum, and free tours are available almost daily. 419 S. 6th Street, (215) 925-0616,
  • The National Constitution Center houses an extremely rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The document that set a precedent for the abolition of slavery is permanently on display in the Civil War exhibition, which examines the turning-point year of 1863. Through hands-on activities, the museum also showcases the contributions of historically significant African-Americans; delves into pivotal Supreme Court cases, such as Dred Scott v. Sanford and Brown v. Board of Education; and explores the passage of constitutional amendments that established rights for all citizens. A more modern highlight: the original, signed copy of Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech, which he delivered in 2008 at the National Constitution Center. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700,
  • The National Liberty Museum examines the enduring story of liberty, both in history and the present. The Heroes From Around the World gallery spotlights notable people from all walks of life and time periods who protected and advanced freedom—including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson. Heroes of Liberty features teachers, students, police officers, firefighters and other ordinary citizens who use their voices and talents to advocate for positive change, as well as a special section around students’ ideas about freedom after watching the film Selma. 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800,
  • At The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation, visitors see structural fragments of the home where Presidents Washington and Adams lived during their terms and where the first president kept nine enslaved Africans. The open-air Independence National Historical Park site, located just steps from the Liberty Bell Center, invites people to learn about the events that transpired through illustrated glass panels and video re-enactments. Visitors then can partake in silent reflection. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305,

All Over Historic Philadelphia:

  • Throughout Historic Philadelphia—and the entire city and state, in fact—Historical Markers capture the stories of people, places and events that shaped our country. The blue signs act as mini-history lessons about notables, including: Free African Society (6th & Lombard Streets), an organization that fostered identity, leadership and unity among black people; James Forten (336 Lombard Street), a wealthy sailmaker who employed multi-racial craftsmen and championed reform causes; Joseph and Amy Cassey (4th Street between Chestnut & Market Streets), a prominent African-American couple that founded intellectual and benevolent societies for black people; Pennsylvania Abolition Society (Front Street between Walnut & Chestnut Streets), the first American abolition society; Pennsylvania Hall (6th Street between Race & Arch Streets), a meeting place for abolitionists that was burned to the ground three days after it first opened; Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society (5th & Arch Streets), organized by Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott; and W. E. B. Du Bois (6th & Rodman Streets), an activist, author and co-founder of the NAACP.
  • People of all ages can perch on Once Upon A Nation’s Storytelling Benches at 10 locations around Historic Philadelphia. Professional storytellers regale their audiences with tales of the well-known and not-so-well-known people who shaped America’s history, including Henry “Box” Brown, who packed himself in a wooden box and shipped himself north to escape slavery. After a grueling 37-hour journey, he emerged as a free man in Philadelphia. Benches are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. (215) 629-4026,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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Related Releases

Mar 6 2018

Aspiring Citizens Get Study Help On Philadelphia's New Americans Trail

Candidates For Citizenship Boost Their Knowledge By Touring Philadelphia’s Historic District

Prepping for the U.S. citizenship test is no small task, but Philadelphia’s self-guided New Americans Tour makes learning easier—and a whole lot more fun. The city contains approximately half the answers to the 100-question citizenship test study. This means aspiring citizens and others students of U.S. history can gain the knowledge they seek simply by visiting Philly’s historic sites and attractions. Best place to start: Philadelphia’s Historic District, the original city—and a very pedestrian-friendly one at that. The trail is available at

Here’s a look at the 20 tour spots:

  1. The African American Museum in Philadelphia, exploring the
Jan 19 2018

31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions In 2017

Fact Sheet

Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2017. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk*.

Historical Sites & Attractions:
1. African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP)* – Founded in 1976, AAMP is the first institution in a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The core exhibit Audacious Freedom takes a fresh, bold look at African-Americans’ role in the founding of the nation; other exhibits and programs explore the history, present and future of the African diaspora in the U.S. 701 Arch Street, (215)

May 10 2017

What's In Old City And Along The Delaware River Waterfront?

Two Historic District Neighborhoods Offer Restaurants, Art Galleries, Nightlife, Shopping—And History

Located just next to Independence Mall, where the country’s Founding Fathers declared liberty and built a free nation, Old City, part of Philadelphia’s Historic District, boasts charming cobblestone streets and plenty of 18th-century charm—along with an independent streak that’s evident in everything from its owner-operated shops to its edgy art scene.

Its proximity to the Liberty Bell, Penn’s Landing and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge make Old City a favorite for out-of-towners as much as for the residents who call it home. People love the neighborhood for its fashionable boutiques, great restaurants, eclectic galleries, boundary-pushing theaters and vibrant nightlife.

Jul 8 2016

16 Things To Know: African-American Philadelphia

From Colonial Through Modern Days In The City Of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection

Strength In Numbers:

  1. The 2010 U.S. Census reported 661,839—that’s 43.37%—of Philadelphians are African-American, the city’s second largest ethnic demographic. More recent estimates show this population has increased by approximately 1% in the past six years.
  2. The largest concentration—82%—of African-American Philadelphians live in North Philadelphia west of Germantown Avenue, Point Breeze in South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and in parts of Southwest Philadelphia.
  3. Important African-American business corridors include 52nd Street between Walnut and
    Arch Streets and Baltimore Avenue between 40th and 52nd Streets, both in West Philadelphia; and Stenton Avenue between Broad Street and Walnut Lane and Ogontz
Jun 16 2016

Fact Sheet: 31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions

* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2015. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.

Historical Sites & Attractions:

  1. The African American Museum in Philadelphia*, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African
May 23 2016

Fact Sheet: Historic Philadelphia Trail

The birthplace of the nation is rich in history—and plenty of it. Philadelphia's Historic District Trail guides visitors to 24 essential sites in the area, which spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard Streets. This is the original city. It boasts serious historical cred, but it’s also home to buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, owner-operated boutiques and pushing-the boundaries art galleries.

Here is the 24-stop essential guide, available at

  1. Visitors can head to the Independence Visitor Center to pick up their timed tickets to Independence Hall and get expert Philly tips.
May 19 2016

Historic Philadelphia Timeline, 1681 To 1801


  • King Charles II grants William Penn the Charter of Pennsylvania, which includes an immense tract of land as settlement of a debt owed to Penn’s father, Admiral William Penn. The King names the colony Pennsylvania in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn begins plans for his “holy experiment” and hopes it will be the “seed of a nation.” His Commonwealth will assure religious tolerance, fair trials, freedom of speech and enlightened laws.


  • William Penn leaves England, sets sail across the Atlantic and arrives in Philadelphia, his “City of Brotherly Love.” Find more information at the Philadelphia History Museum,
Jan 30 2018

Philadelphia Celebrates Black History Month

Exhibitions, Performances and Special Program Highlight Philly’s Month of Activities

Black History Month celebrates its 42nd anniversary this year, and Philadelphia honors the occasion with special events, exhibitions, film screenings and family activities. Philadelphia’s Black History Month features the nation’s longest running African American Children’s Book Fair; Black Pulp!, a new exhibition at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, and Henry “Box” Brown: The Musical, starring Dice Raw. Here are highlights of Philly’s Black History Month:

Museum Happenings:

  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) hosts the regional debut of Black Pulp!, curated by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson. This visual overview offers up printed works by
Oct 26 2017

African-American Historic Attractions Thrive In Philadelphia

The Unique, Compelling Story Of Early African-Americans, As Told Throughout Philadelphia

Just as U.S. history is African-American history, Philadelphia history is African-American history. The nation’s birthplace and first World Heritage City is home to the founding church of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination (201-year-old Mother Bethel A.M.E.), the country’s first major museum devoted to black American history (African American Museum in Philadelphia) and the oldest daily newspaper serving the African-American community (The Philadelphia Tribune).

Landmarks from Philadelphia’s Historic District to Historic Germantown tell of the successes, struggles and contributions of African-Americans through the centuries. In September 2017, Philadelphia City Hall welcomed the city’s first statue representing