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1838 PHILADELPHIA BLACK METROPOLIS AT A GLANCE
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1838 Philadelphia Black Metropolis 101

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These ideas...this history...is new to most of us. We are used to hearing about the history of enslaved people and the history of important abolitionists like Sojouner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and William Still. 

But there were nearly 400,000 free Black people in the United States by 1838. In Philadelphia, William Still relied on a network of at least 12 safe houses for the Underground Railroad, run by hundreds of people that could handle the needs of hundreds of freedom seekers on a weekly basis. 

With 16 churches, 23 schools, 300 businesses, and 80 Beneficial societies, the Black population of Philadelphia in 1838 was it's own influential metropolis.  Surrounded by free Black towns in Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Black Metropolis stretched into a region, a zone of emancipation.  

The history of free Black people has been buried in books and journal articles.  Go with us as we dust off the book jackets and read this history with new eyes. 

These timelines will introduce you to The Black Metropolis of 1838. 

1838 Philadelphia Black Metropolis Timeline
Part 1 - 1770-1817
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1838 Philadelphia Black Metropolis Timeline
Part 2 - 1818-1838
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