Vincent Fraley

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"That separate and distinct churches for colored people are now established here, and in different parts of the country, is a fact," begin the 1861 Annals of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. Yet this fact was not always so firm.

During most of Absalom Jones' life (1746-1818), there existed no church edifice owned or operated exclusively by African Americans anywhere in the country. By the end of Jones' life, however, many black churchgoers could proudly call houses of worship their own.


Though it's now known as the Keystone State, Pennsylvania equally deserved its earlier nickname: the Coal State. Northeastern Pennsylvania at one time contained three-quarters of the world's anthracite deposits.
Beginning in the early 1800s, beleaguered Eastern European laborers flocked to this region. Carpatho-Rusyns (those living along the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains in present-day Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine) quickly became one of the anthracite region's most dominant ethnic groups.


This weekend, people from across the country will gather at Independence Mall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first "Annual Reminder" picket, the earliest recurring gay-rights demonstration in the United States.

In 1965, 40 buttoned-up protesters politely demanded their full rights as citizens of the United States in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, which was then still housed inside the hall.


The Delaware River waterfront has been striking a billowy silhouette. Wafting in the wind are the unfurled sails of 13 tall ships, a voluminous homage to the city's former maritime glory.

Crowning this flotilla holiday is the 145-foot French frigate L'Hermione (air-me-OWN), easily spotted by the tricolor streaming at its stern. The vessel is a replica of the ship responsible for shuttling the debonairly daring Marquis de Lafayette to the United States in 1780.


The Historial Society of Pennsylvania's Memory Stream, appearing each week in Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer. 


This week marks the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. The nationwide celebration dates back to June 19, 1865, with Union soldiers' announcement of emancipation in Texas - the last state in rebellion.

More than 150 years before this remarkable event, four Germantown Friends launched the first formal protest against human bondage in North America.


Philadelphia's first free library was not the Free Library of Philadelphia. Bookworms without means in the mid-19th century turned to the Philadelphia City Institute.

Founded in 1852, PCI originated from the Young Man's Institute, an organization striving to provide Philadelphia's youths with positive alternatives to the "perils to which they are exposed in a large city."


June 1 marks the beginning of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, celebrated since 1995 in commemoration of the June 1969 Stonewall riot in Manhattan - a turning point in the struggle for gay rights.


Celebrations of the hard work and sacrifice of emergency medical services personnel have marked this year's National EMS Week. For a historical perspective, consider another "first responder" of sorts, Edith Madeira - one of the first Red Cross nurses to treat the sick and starving of what was then known as Palestine during the World War I.


In 1961, US Supreme Court decisions that overturned racial segregation in interstate travel were largely ignored in the South. To challenge this status quo, more than 400 black and white Americans, called Freedom Riders, performed a simple act. They traveled into the segregated South in small interracial groups and sat where they pleased on interstate buses.

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