In May 1838, a Philadelphia mob destroyed one of the most modern and elegant buildings in the city during a spree of violence directed at abolitionists and Black Philadelphians. The building, Pennsylvania Hall, had just been completed and was being dedicated that weekend as a “temple of liberty” and a monument to free expression. The mobbing and destruction of Pennsylvania Hall offers a lens through which to view the state’s complicated antislavery movement and the resistance it faced. Historian Beverly C. Tomek will tell the story of the hall, and of the abolitionist solidarity that characterized the state’s nineteenth century civil rights movement.
About the Speaker: Beverly C. Tomek is a historian of civil rights movements in the U.S. Her books include Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania (Temple University Press) and Pennsylvania Hall: A “Legal Lynching” in the Shadow of the Liberty Bell (Oxford University Press), as well as works on the American and Pennsylvania African recolonization movements. She is currently writing a biography of 20th century civil rights leader James Farmer.
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