Though Pennsylvania tolerated slavery against William Penn’s personal objections, Penn and other abolitionist lawmakers discouraged its practice in Pennsylvania by imposing tariffs to make it less profitable.
Pennsylvania, influenced by its Quaker lawmakers, banned importation of slaves in 1767.
Ben Franklin was instrumental in Pennsylvania passing the Gradual Abolition Act in 1780.
The nation’s first hospital opened here in 1751.
In 1776, Philadelphia was more populous and a larger economic center than NYC. When the first U.S. Census was taken in 1790, NYC population was less than 5,000 people larger than Philadelphia, which remained our nation’s second largest city until 1830, when it was passed by Baltimore.
About 1.2 million African American reside in this 6 million person metro area
Opened in 1874, Philadelphia Zoo was the first of its type in America.
The first World’s Fair in America was held here in 1876.
Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program has produced over 2,500 indoor and outdoor murals. The typical mural costs $15,000 and takes 6-8 weeks to complete. 1100 students participate in the Mural Arts Program.
The energy generated by 220,000 college students is very evident in the cultural activities, nightlife and cafes in the region.
The list of African American celebrities, athletes, social ground-breakers, business leaders, and government dignitaries born or made their mark in Philadelphia includes:
Rev. Richard Allen – Founded the AME Church
Rev. Absalom Jones – Co-founded early Black churches
James Forten – Philly’s first rich Brother
Marian Anderson – Acclaimed Opera singer
Bill Cosby – Actor, comedian, philanthropist, author
Kevin Hart – Comedian and actor
Pearl Bailey – Famous singer, stage & movie actor
Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff – Founders of Philadelphia International Records
Roxanne Jones – 1st African American state senator in Pennsylvania
Sonia Sanchez – Poet, women’s rights activist & teacher
Marvin Harrison – All-NFL player
Rev. Leon Sullivan – Founder of the OIC & human rights activist
Joe Frazier – Heavyweight Boxing Champ
Patti LaBelle – Singer, actress, chef and author
John Coltrane – One of the most influential Jazz saxophonists
Teddy Pendergrass – R&B vocalist
Jill Scott – Neo-Soul singer and composer
Will Smith – Rap, TV and Movie star
Wilt Chamberlain – One of the greatest NBA players
Julius Erving – Pro Basketball legend
Grover Washington, Jr. – Jazz saxophonist
Paul Robeson – Actor, Singer, Orator, Human Rights Activist