Please join Brookens Library in welcoming Gerald McWorter and Kate Williams-McWorter on November 5th at 6pm in the Student Union Ballroom for their ECCE Speaker Series presentation, “Free Frank’s New Philadelphia, Illinois: First U.S. Town Founded by a Black Man.”
We will learn of the personal history and living legacy of Free Frank McWorter, who founded New Philadelphia, an abolitionist town just 20 miles from slavery, and purchased 16 family members from slavery, starting with his pregnant wife and then himself. Gerald McWorter & Kate Williams-McWorter will discuss their recent publication, “New Philadelphia” (2018). Gerald McWorter is the great-great-grandson of “Free” Frank. New Philadelphia was inhabited for more than 100 years. Its location is now on the National Register of Historic Places and under consideration to become a designated National Park. As Barack Obama said, “New Philadelphia is a site of national importance as the first town known to be founded and platted by an African American. Platted in 1836 by Frank McWorter, a former slave, New Philadelphia thrived as a biracial community during a period of extreme racial tension.” Against all odds, this is an important story of community creation and family unification.
In conjunction with this talk, Brookens Library will have a traveling exhibit on display provided by the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum from October 21st through November 18th.
We hope to see you in the library and at the talk on November 5th at 6pm.