With Black History Month quickly coming to an end, there is still time to learn more about the contributions African-Americans have made to the central Pennsylvania region. Black History Month may only be 28 days long, but that does not mean learning about it ends there.
In York County, the York County Heritage Trust unveiled a temporary mural entitled Civil Rights Heroes – Barrier Breakers. This three-panel mural honors the men and women who fought for social justice and peace. Several York County natives are highlighted, including Mattie Chapman, York County’s first African-American elected official and Dr. George Bowels, a physician who for most of his career was the only African-American doctor in the county.
The York County Heritage Trust, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission (PHMC), highlights twelve York - County African Americans who have made a contribution to the community. To learn more about these exhibits, contact the York County Heritage Trust at (717) 848-1587 or their website.
Since Mother Nature is intent on keeping us indoors, there are several good books on African-American history focusing on Pennsylvania to keep you occupied. The Pennsylvania bookstore features a few such books this month, including African Americans in Harrisburg, African-Americans in Pennsylvania Above and Underground: An Illustrated Guide, and Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad as told by Levi Coffin and William Still.
When the weather turns warmer or you just need to get out, Harrisburg honors African-American history through the Historical Marker Program. Lincoln Cemetery at 30th Street and Booser Avenue marks the burial location of some of Harrisburg’s great African-Americans, including T. Morris Chester, William Howard Day, Catherine McClintock, and at least 20 Civil War veterans. The U.S. Grand Review of Colored Troops at Walnut and 7th Street, across from the State Street Bridge marks the spot where troops from the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts troops, who were excluded from the Grand Review of Troops in Washington, D.C., marched in a parade honoring their courage during the Civil War. If interested in the Underground Railroad, visit Tanner’s Alley at Capital Park, Walnut Street near Commonwealth Avenue for an important stop on the Underground Railroad.
For more information on events pertaining to Black History, the PHMC has a dedicated website for information and events happening this year - Black History in Pennsylvania.