“Love Story” at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One guest will win a genealogy package and airfare to trace their own family tree

ATTENTION: This event was rescheduled. The new date is Monday, June 20. To register, click here.

During African American History Month, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania invites you to hear the love story of the Morreys and Montiers. This inspiring story of an interracial couple in early Philadelphia will be recounted by descendent Dr. William Pickens III. Pickens’s journey through his family tree will inspire you to search for your own family roots.

The free lecture, titled “The Morreys and Montiers of Philadelphia: A Love Story,” will be held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 1. Attendees can register online at www.hsp.org. The event is cosponsored by Southwest Airlines and the Urban League of Philadelphia.

All guests who purchase or renew an HSP or Urban League of Philadelphia membership at this event will be entered to win a special “Trace Your Roots” package: a research strategy interview with an HSP librarian and two roundtrip Southwest airline tickets to a center of genealogy. Must be present to win.

Dr. Pickens can trace his family tree back to Humphrey Morrey, the first mayor of Philadelphia whose term started in 1691. Morrey’s son, Richard, began a relationship with one of his father’s slaves, Cremona. The couple bore five children together, and Richard gave Cremona about 200 acres of land in what is now Glenside, Montgomery County. Richard and Cremona did not hide their interracial relationship, and Cremona took Richard’s surname as her own. One of the couple’s children, also named Cremona, married a free black man named John Montier.

Dr. Pickens and his wife, Audrey Patricia, recently loaned rare oil paintings of their descendents to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The paintings depict Hiram Charles Montier, a bootmaker from Philadelphia, and his wife, Elizabeth Brown Montier. The portraits, which date to 1841, were painted by Philadelphia-based artist Franklin R. Street.

Dr. Pickens, who lives in Sag Harbor, New York, is the founder and president of the Montier Family Association, a private entity dedicated to preserving, administering, and sharing the family’s more than 300-year history in America. Dr. Pickens served as a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Air Force in Japan. When he returned to New York City, he joined the corporate world and founded Bill Pickens Associates Inc., his own international consulting and executive search firm. He is also the founding president and chief executive officer of the Paul Robeson Foundation, established in 1996 and dedicated to preserving the legacy of the legendary actor, singer and social activist. Dr. Pickens’s grandfather, William Pickens Sr., was a co-founder of the NAACP in 1909. Dr. Pickens is a lifetime member of the NAACP and a former director of its Executive Committee.