Viewing Room | New Philadelphia
How a Black man freed his family and founded an abolitionist village in Central Illinois
Thu, Jul 22 | 6:30 pm
The great-great-grandson of Frank McWorter and his wife will present a lively account full of images of how New Philadelphia came to be in 1831, and what happened next. Frank was the first Black man in the U.S. to plat and register a town. Townspeople fought for slavery in seven ways and much is known about each one of the seven. The story continues into the 20st century, with local history activists, living descendants, and professional archaeologists unearthing more details about life in 19th century New Philadelphia.
Gerald McWorter (Abdul Alkalimat) is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. He has researched, taught and lectured about African American history and culture around the world, only to find himself writing about his own family late in life. A lifetime scholar-activist raised in Chicago, he earned his PhD from the University of Chicago and just finished two books on the history and future of Black Studies.
Kate Williams-McWorter is an associate professor at the University of Illinois who educates future librarians. She was glad to learn that McWorter women live long lives, and to discover that her own Texas background includes not only confederate soldiers but also one person who helped stop an 1860 lynching.