Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, and she died in Portland, OR on April 8, 1993. Considered one of the finest contraltos of her time, Anderson was the first African American to perform for the President at the White House (1939) and the first African American to perform as a member of the New York Metropolitan Opera (1955).

Source: Marian Anderson Biography. Retrieved from
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001, v.1 p. 615, Stanley Sadie, 780.3 N42G2

On August 30, 1983 Guion (Guy) Stewart Bluford Jr. became the first African American to fly in space. He became a NASA astronaut in 1979 and flew four missions, logging over 688 hours in space. Bluford was born in Philadelphia on Nov. 22, 1942 and is a graduate of Overbrook Senior High School.

Source: Guion S. Bluford, Jr. Retrieved from
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001, v.1 p. 615, Stanley Sadie, 780.3 N42G2

Julian Francis Abele led the Horace Trumbauer Company team of architects that designed the Central Library, constructed between 1917 and 1927. Abele was born in Philadelphia in 1881 and was the first African American graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of fine Arts.

Source: Penn Biographies. Retrieved from
Philadelphia architecture, 1994, p.101, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

The African Insurance Company, located at 159 Lombard Street in Philadelphia, was the first African American-owned insurance company in the United States. Its president was Joseph Randolph; treasurer, Carey Porter; and secretary, William Coleman.

Source: The African Insurance Company (1810-1813). Retrieved from
Black Firsts, 2003, p.85, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

Crystal Bird Fauset (1893-1965), of Philadelphia, was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1938. As a state representative, Fauset introduced nine bills and three amendments on issues concerning public health, housing, public relief, and working women. She also sponsored an amendment to the Pennsylvania Female Labor Law of 1913 to better protect women in the workplace.

Source: Crystal Bird Fauset Historical Marker. Retrieved from
Black Firsts, 2003, p.262, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

Ashmun Institute was founded in Chester County, PA by John Miller Dickey and his wife Sarah Emlen Cresson. It was chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on April 24, 1854 "for the scientific, classical and theological education of colored youth of the male sex.” In 1866 it was re-named Lincoln University in honor of President Abraham Lincoln.

Source: History. Retrieved from
Famous First Facts, 1997, p.174, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

Mother Bethel Church, founded in August 1794, was the first Methodist church in the North to be organized by African Americans. It was founded by Richard Allen, a former slave, at 6th and Lombard Street in Philadelphia.

Source: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from
Famous First Facts, 1997, p.482, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

That would be Jack Jones, who in 1972 took over WCAU's evening newscast. In 1976 he moved to KYW-TV and then in 1979 to Chicago and WLS-TV. In 1984 he returned to KYW-TV where he stayed until his death in 1991 from pancreatic cancer.

Source: Jack Jones. Retrieved from

Octavius V. Catto was a Philadelphia African American who grew to national prominence in the mid-19th century. He raised African American troops to serve in the Civil War and in the late 1860s became a national spokesperson for enfranchisement and civil rights for African Americans. He was also famous for desegregating Philadelphia streetcars, and organizing a black baseball team, the Pythians. Catto  was a professor at the Institute for Colored Youth (later Cheyney University) when he was shot defending the black vote during riots in 1871.

Source: The Triumph and Tragedy of Octavius V. Catto. Retrieved from

The A. Philip Randolph Messenger Award, named after the founder of the 1917 civil rights journal, The Messenger. This award is given for excellence in journalism among African American publications.

Source: Nation's Oldest Black Newspaper Wins Big. Retrieved from

That is the property at 6th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia, which has been owned by the Bethel African Methodist Church since 1787, and by other African Americans before that. Richard Allen, the Church's founder, is buried in the crypt.

Source: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from
Webster. Philadelphia Preserved. 1976, p.10

Eleanora Fagan Gough was born on April 7, 1915 at Philadelphia General Hospital. She would grow up to be Billie Holiday.

Source: Billie Holiday. Retrieved from
Billie Holiday, 1995, p.18, Stuart Nicholson, 784.53 H724N

"Oh! Dem Golden Slippers" was written in 1879 by an African American named James A. Bland. It was played in the Mummers' Parade in 1903. It is still played in Mummers' Parades to this day, and the rhythm and harmony lends itself to the dancing of the Golden Slipper, or Mummers' Strut.

Source: Oh! Dem Golden Slippers. Retrieved from
Oh! Dem Golden Slippers, 1970, p.115, Charles E. Welch, 394.5 P53W

Julian Abele, the first African American graduate in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania (class of 02), headed the Trumbauer firm's collaboration on the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Source: Julian Francis Abele. Retrieved from
Germantown Courier, 02/11/1998

The Philadelphia Tribune wins that honor, having been started in 1884 by James Perry, who served as editor, publisher, staff and deliverer.

Source: About Philadelphia. Retrieved from

That would be Philadelphia. By 1890 the African American community had grown to 40,000.

Source: About Philadelphia. Retrieved from

When Julian Abele ended his university studies, Horace Trumbauer, head of an architectural firm in Philadelphia, paid for Abele to travel to Paris to attend the prestigious school for four years. Abele then became chief designer at Trumbauer's firm.

Source: Black Architect Gave Shape to an Idea.

He was born in South Philadelphia in 1881 and died in 1950. Buildings he helped design include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Free Library, The Widener Library at Harvard University and campus buildings at Duke University.

Source: Haverford gate a portal to architect Abele's legend.

In front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia is a statue of Crispus Attucks by Reginald Beauchamps. Attucks was an escaped slave who led protesters against British troops in Boston. He became the first casualty of the American Revolution when he was shot and killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre.

Source: Crispus Attucks.

Edmonia Lewis's statue "The Dying Cleopatra" was exhibited and lauded for its humanistic realism.

Source: The Death of Cleopatra.
Public Art in Philadelphia, 1992, p.49, Penny Balkin Bach, 709.7481 B122P