Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Dec 14 2010

The President’s House Overview

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

From 1790 to 1800, when the city of Philadelphia was our new nation’s capital, Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived and worked in a mansion – the President’s House – that stood roughly one block north of Independence Hall. In that house, the first two American presidents literally invented what it meant to be Chief Executive of the United States.

The mansion also held a profoundly disturbing truth. It has been documented that George Washington, who owned over 300 enslaved Africans at his Mount Vernon home, brought at least nine of these servants to Philadelphia to live and work in the President’s House. This fact creates a challenge to the notion of American liberty; while the founders of our country declared “all men are created equal,” the brutal institution of slavery was still being cultivated and maintained. It was in this very house that George Washington signed the notorious Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.

The presidential mansion is replete with stories of both achievement and infamy – the birth of a free nation and its tenacious first steps, co-existing with widely practiced, indefensible enslavement of human beings. It is worth noting that John Adams was not himself a slave owner, and his wife Abigail was an outspoken critic of slavery.

Ultimately, President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in Making a New Nation is designed with a dual purpose. The site indeed commemorates the location and importance of the original executive mansion of George Washington and John Adams – key architects of American democracy. It also tells the long-obscured story of the enslaved Africans who toiled at the house, two of whom made a remarkable escape to freedom during Washington’s presidency.

Moreover, we have a compelling obligation as a nation to illuminate the history of this house and all its inhabitants – willing and unwilling – to the fullest. What better place to tell these fascinating stories but in the Independence Mall footprint, at the very threshold of the Liberty Bell?

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Dec 15 2010

President's House Opens On Independence Mall In Philadelphia

Much-Anticipated Site Honors Lives of Enslaved Africans in Presidential Household

This is a National Historical Park/City of Philadelphia press release.

The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
opens today in Philadelphia after more than five years of development. The commemorative, open-air installation marks the site where the nation’s first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams, served their terms of office and began to shape the executive branch of government. However, the most compelling and controversial aspect of the site is that it pays tribute to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household. The inclusion of the

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Dec 14 2010

The President’s House: Slavery Timeline

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

1619 Enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, Virginia.

1641 Massachusetts legally recognizes slavery.

1662 Virginia law determines status of children will be same as that of the mother.

1684 Ship Isabella brings150 enslaved Africans to Philadelphia.

1705 Virginia law determines imported servants who were not Christians in native country are slaves; slaves are chattel property, and may be disciplined or killed without penalty.

1780 Pennsylvania passes the Gradual Abolition Act prohibiting importation of enslaved Africans into the state and guarantees future children of enslaved Pennsylvania mothers will be born free but

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Dec 14 2010

The President’s House: House Timeline

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

Before For hundreds of years before 1630, Algonquian peoples resided here.
1682 The city of Philadelphia founded.
1767 House built by Mary Lawrence Masters, a rich the widow of a former mayor and slaveholder.
1772 House is a wedding present to daughter Polly and slave owning Lieutenant Governor Richard Penn.
1777 Headquarters of General Sir William Howe, a slave owner and leader of British forces, during the British occupation of Philadelphia.
1778 Headquarters of slave owning Major General Benedict Arnold whose betrayal of the Revolution begins here.
1782 Financier and

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Dec 14 2010

Fact Sheet: The President’s House: Freedom And Slavery In The Making Of A New Nation

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

DESCRIPTION: President’s House commemorative site is an open-air installation designed to give visitors a sense of the house where the first two presidents of the United States, George Washington and John Adams served their terms of office. The commemorative site pays homage to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household and addresses the topic of slavery in the early history of the United States.

LOCATION: Southeast corner of 6th and Market Streets in Historic Philadelphia

OPENING: December 15, 2010

PROJECT COST: $11.2 million

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Apr 16 2009

$1.5 Million African-American Histroy Exhibition Kicks Off Summer In Historic Philadelphia

New July Fourth Parade, Lincoln Celebration And Behind-The-Scenes Boat Tours Headline A Summer Of Discovery

This summer, Historic Philadelphia is home to brand-new attractions, activities and events, including the provocative new exhibition at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876. After undergoing an extensive renovation, the city’s premier African-American museum will unveil its stunning permanent display on Juneteenth (June 19).

To discover Audacious Freedom and all of the other affordable—or free—attractions in Historic Philadelphia this summer, visitors will have to spend at least two nights. gophila.com lists dozens of affordable hotel packages, including the popular Philly Overnight® Hotel Package, a two-night offer that comes with free hotel parking.

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Jun 18 2008

Quest For Freedom Features New Summer Tours, Exhibitions Throughout Historic Philadelphia

Programs Highlight Underground Railroad And The Free Black Community in Philadelphia

This summer’s Philadelphia Quest for Freedom will feature new programs, tours and exhibitions, including Black Hands, Blue Seas at the Independence Seaport Museum and Black Founders at the Library Company of Philadelphia, exploring the story of the region’s Underground Railroad and early African American history. Now in its second year, the program allows visitors to hear a more exciting and multi-layered rendition of the United States’ early years than ever before.

“Philadelphia was a major passageway to freedom and led the world in anti-slavery activities. Quest for Freedom allows us to provide ways for the public to access this compelling

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Apr 3 2008

Historic Philadelphia: African-American Experience

A Richer Story Is Being Told About Free Blacks, Enslaved Africans And African-Americans In Historic Philadelphia

This summer and beyond, Philadelphia will reveal untold chapters in the nation’s history and bring new emphasis to the undertold stories of African-Americans, allowing visitors to hear a far more accurate rendition of the United States’ early years than ever before. Not only will storytellers throughout Historic Philadelphia add new tales to their repertoire, but a self-guided Underground Railroad tour of Philadelphia will take participants from Society Hill to Germantown. Other projects in the works, including the President’s House Commemorative Site and the Octavius V. Catto memorial, will ensure that visitors have many reasons to come back to Philadelphia in

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Jul 26 2014

Touring The Town Philadelphia-Style

Tons Of Ways To Explore The Region Whether It’s By Foot, Horse Or iPod

Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and even spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:

History Lessons By Day & Night:

  • The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia – Visitors get an up-close look at history during this 75-minute walking tour to more than 20 sites. It runs daily from April
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Jan 23 2014

Philly Celebrates Black History Month

Exhibitions, Performances and Special Program Highlight A Month of Activities

Since Philadelphia’s earliest days, African-American culture has played an influential role in shaping the city’s personality. This February, Philadelphia celebrates that heritage and Black History Month with special events, exhibitions, film screenings and other activities. Visitors can join members of the esteemed Tiberino family of artists on guided tours of The Unflinching Eye: Works of the Tiberino Family Circle at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, catch the Tony Award®-winning classic Porgy and Bess at the Academy of Music or explore the path to Civil Rights at the National Constitution Center.

Here are some highlights of Philadelphia’s Black

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