Women In The Abolition Movement: Historic Sites In Philadelphia

african american museum philadelphia

P1: African American Museum


Location: 7th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia
Open: Tues - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.,
Sun: noon - 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $8; Children, Seniors, & Students $6
For more information visit
: http://www.aampmuseum.org/

This museum features collections that focus on African American themes and offers many programs and special exhibits throughout the year. There are four galleries that contain a permanent collection of African American art and historic photographs of Philadelphia.

P2: Fair Hill Burial Ground


Location: 9th and Cambria Streets, Philadelphia
Open: Currently, 3 Saturdays each year; they hope to open 1 Saturday per month in the near future. Guided tours can also be arranged at other times by calling in advance
Admission: free
For more information, visit: http://www.fairhillburial.org/

fair hill burial ground philadelphia

Started in 1703 by George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), most people at the Fair Hill Burial Grounds are Quakers and many of them were abolitionists and women's rights activists. Some of the most renowned include Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann McClintock, Ann Preston, Sarah Pugh, and Harriet Forten Purvis. The grounds contain an information center and there are annual reenactments of abolitionist activities.

lucretia mott

Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) co-organized the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, spoke to the U.S. Congress and to President John Tyler against slavery in 1845, and aided many escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War, she advocated for the rights of freed slaves. Mott was also one of the five women who planned the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention of 1848.

ann preston

Mary Ann M'Clintock (?-1884) participated in the founding of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and worked on the Society's first Anti-Slavery Fair in 1863. In 1835, she and her family moved to Waterloo, New York, where their home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. M'Clintock was also one of the five women who planned the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments, the women's manifesto, was written at her home.

sarah pugh

Ann Preston (1813-1872) was a member of the Clarkson Anti-Slavery Society. She was also devoted to medical education for women, and attended the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania. Preston went on to teach there and become the College's first female dean. Under her leadership, the College trained the first African American and the first Native American woman doctors in the country.

Sarah Pugh (1800-1884) was a dedicated teacher who founded her own school. In 1835, she became devoted to the immediate abolition of slavery. She joined the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and became its presiding officer for many years. She was also a member of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society.

fair hill burial philadelphia

In 1838, the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women held its first meeting at Pennsylvania Hall. A pro-slavery mob burned the building, so the convention continued at Pugh's schoolroom, where they pledged to expand the relationship between blacks and whites. After the Civil War, Pugh helped establish schools for the freed slaves. She also worked for the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association.

Harriet Forten Purvis (1810-1875) was a founding member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She was a delegate in 1838 and 1839 to the American Convention of Anti-Slavery Women. Purvis also became a prominent member of the Female Vigilant Society, which raised money for clothes and transportation for refugee slaves, some of whom were hidden in the Purvis' home.

francis ew harper

P3: Francis E.W. Harper Home


Location: 1006 Bainbridge St., Philadelphia, the building is not open to the public but there is an historic marker on the site commemorating her life

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911), born to a free African-American family in Baltimore, was the first female faculty member of Union Seminary in Ohio. She became a full-time abolitionist in New England. She helped with the Underground Railroad, lectured through most of the Northern States and Southern Canada, and published poetry. In 1854, she published Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects, which sold over 10,000 copies in three years.

johnson house philadelphia pa

P4: Johnson House


Location: 6306 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia
Open: Thurs - Fri: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., tours are by appointment; Sat: 1 - 4 p.m., tours at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m.
For more information, visit: http://www.johnsonhouse.org

Playing an important role in the antislavery movement and the Underground Railroad, the Johnson House is now a National Historic Landmark. Between 1770 and 1908, five generations of Quaker Johnsons lived in the house, with the third generation active with the Underground Railroad in the 1850s. The Johnson's house, along with houses of their nearby relatives, became important stops along the Underground Railroad. In addition, the five Johnson siblings, Rowland, Israel, Ellwood, Sarah and Elizabeth, and their respective spouses, were members of abolition groups like the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Germantown Freedman's Aid Association, making them among the leading Philadelphia abolitionists of that time.

pennsylvania hall

P5: Pennsylvania Hall


Location: 6th and Haines Sts., Philadelphia - The building is no longer at the site but there is a commemorative marker

In 1838, the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society built Pennsylvania Hall as a meeting place. Three days after it opened, rioters who favored slavery burned down the building. During the short period it was open, the Second Anti-Slavery Conference of American Women occurred, and abolitionist Abby Kelley Foster was one of the daring women who spoke to a mixed gender audience. The experience encouraged her to more vocally express her beliefs that women and men should be equal participants in the abolition movement, particularly at conventions like the New England Anti-Slavery Convention. Two years later in 1840, William Lloyd Garrison nominated Kelley to the American Anti-Slavery Society's business committee, despite opposition by some of the male participants. The Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Convention of 1838, which also occurred during the three days the Hall was open, was the only occasion on which Maria Weston Chapman (1806-1885), one of the leading female abolitionists and founder of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, spoke publicly.

P6: Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society


Location: 5th and Arch Sts., Philadelphia, there is a commemorative historic marker on the site.

Organized in 1833 by abolitionists such as Lucretia Mott and Margaretta Forten, the society headquartered here originally consisted of sixty women who sought to end slavery. After the Civil War, the society worked to help freed slaves. Lucretia Mott worked with the Underground Railroad and spoke to the U.S. Congress and President John Tyler against slavery in 1845. Margaretta Forten decided to co-found the society after full membership to the American Anti-Slavery Society was denied to women. She also founded a school for black children in 1850. Another member included Sarah Mapps Douglas who opened an academy for black children and challenged racial segregation in Philadelphia.