African American History Month Programs at Independence

Release Date: January 17, 2013, REVISED January 23, 2013
Contacts: Jane Cowley, e-mail us, 215-597-0060

- February is African American History Month, and Independence National Historical Park is celebrating with a series of ranger-led programs at the Independence Visitor Center, the Second Bank, and all around the park. Stop by the Independence Visitor Center, call 800-537-7676, or visit or www.PHLvisitorcenter.comto learn more about the many programs that will be offered.

The National theme is "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington." This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. In recognition of these two historical events, this year's National African American History Month is celebrated as a convergence of both freedom and equality. Programs offered during the month of February will include:

Music of the Underground Railroad. February 2, 11:00 AM - noon in the Independence Visitor Center.

Philadelphia tour guide and former NPS park ranger, Joe Becton presents a family-friendly presentation explaining the history of music of the Underground Railroad in this performance and demonstration.

Alexandra Ford as Oney Judge presents: The Golden Bird Cage. February 9, 1 - 2 PM in the Independence Visitor Center.

In this one-woman theatrical presentation and discussion, local actress Alexandra Ford as Oney Judge tells of her harrowing escape from enslavement in the Washington household in Philadelphia to New Hampshire in 1796.

The Chew Family and the Roots of the Underground Railroad. February 16, 2 - 3 PM in the Independence Visitor Center.

Jason Allen, Director of Interpretation at Cliveden in Germantown, leads an interactive presentation and discussion about the untold beginnings of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia revealed in the personal papers of the Chew Family. Visitors will then be able to reveal their own histories in an interactive timeline.

The Underground Railroad Through the Eyes and Art of Jerry Pinkney. February 24, 1 - 2:30 PM in the Independence Visitor Center.

Renowned artist Jerry Pinkney presents an illustrated program featuring his works of art depicting the brave men, women, and children who seized their freedom by way of the Underground Railroad. A question and answer session, book signing and art table for the kids will follow the presentation.

The Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. Every Saturday and Sunday in February at 2 pm. in the Second Bank of the United States.

During the 18th and 19th centuries Philadelphia was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Learn more about the people and places connected to this important era in Black history during this 30-minute, Ranger-led illustrated program.

Underground Railroad Trading Cards Kickoff. Throughout the month of February and year!

Young visitors, ages 10 and up, can experience their own JOURNEY of discovery by exploring the Underground Railroad (UGRR) in Philadelphia through the UGRR trading cards at Independence National Historical Park. Collect all 9! Cards can be obtained by visiting the Independence Visitor Center, The Liberty Bell Center, Old City Hall, The Great Essentials Exhibit and Congress Hall. Ask a Ranger!

Beyond the Proclamation: Interpreting Emancipation for Today's Youth.Saturday, February 23, 2013, 8 am to 3 pm, at the WHYY Philadelphia Offices, Independence Mall West.

This second annual symposium, jointly hosted by The African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Friends of Independence National Historical Park, Independence National Historical Park, The Library Company of Philadelphia and University of Delaware, will use the Emancipation Proclamation as the lens on which to base a discussion of the techniques educators can be use to help students understand and discuss complex historical and current events. For pricing and to register, please visit or all 215-861-4971.

A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets. Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall. For more information visit the park's website, follow us at

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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