December 2019- (pages 18 - 23) The great-grandaughter of a former slave examines how four local museums are talking about slavery a century and a half after emancipation.
Just when I began to sense the significance of the life of my great-grandmother, Rose Wilson Ware, or Maw (1851-1964), she died. Maw and I had 18 years of overlap since I was born in 1946. During the summers of my childhood, my parents, my brothers and I would visit Maw's farm in Partlow, Va., drink cool water from her well, look into her wizened face and hear how Maw's grand-mother, Hannah, stepped off a slave ship in Baltimore, possibly in the late 1790s, and walked with a coffle of other enslaved Africans to Virginia.
"There Is Something Special About Sleepovers" - Joseph McGill, The Slave Dwelling Project
November 8, 2019- Nine years ago, I started spending nights in slave dwellings to honor the enslaved Ancestors. I, like some northerners, thought that slavery was strictly a southern thing. I blame this misconception on my education in the subject of slavery or lack thereof. This misconception made me believe that slavery was relegated to plantations in the south, and the north was responsible for slavery’s eradication. This was a time in history when Confederate flags and monuments met little to no. I was misinformed, bamboozled, hood winked, shortchanged.
In relegating slavery to plantations, we miss many components of that peculiar institution. Urban slavery thrived in cities like Charleston, South Carolina. By 1777, Charleston was the fourth largest city in this nation behind New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, which brings me to the purpose of this blog.
"Philadelphia artist is chosen for the new Dinah Memorial at Stenton" -Valerie Russ
November 7, 2019- Karyn Olivier, an associate professor at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, has been selected to create a monument to Dinah, a former slave whose quick thinking saved the historic Stenton mansion from being burned by the British during the Revolutionary War.
After a year-long process in which community members met to shape ideas of what a monument to Dinah should incorporate, Stenton officials selected three finalists, who presented proposals at two separate sessions in September.
October 22, 2019- At Stenton, a historic house museum in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia, a 1912 memorial plaque for Dinah, a formerly enslaved woman, describes her as a “faithful colored caretaker.”
In a Museum History course last semester, Heller began creating a new monument proposal to Dinah. At the end of the semester, the class submitted their proposals for a new monument to Dinah, which would replace the current memorial plaque. The proposals came as a part of a larger, two-year project from Stenton called “Inequality in Bronze” which focuses on creating a new 21st-century memorial to Dinah to better reflect her life and the reality of slavery around 1607-1776.
"You can vote on artists’ proposals to memorialize Dinah, the once-enslaved woman known for saving Philly’s Stenton house" -Valerie Russ
September 19, 2019- Stenton, the historic house and museum in Nicetown, is halfway through the process of creating a monument to honor Dinah, a once-enslaved African-American woman known for using her wits to save the mansion from being burned by the British during the Revolutionary War.
Last Saturday, three artist finalists — Karyn Olivier, assistant professor and head of the sculpture program at Tyler School of Art and Architecture; La Vaughn Belle, an artist living in St. Croix, Virgin Islands; and Kenturah Davis, who works from Los Angeles, New Haven, Conn., and Accra, Ghana — presented their proposals for a Dinah monument.
September 13, 2019- For decades, African Americans in Nicetown and neighboring towns have felt a disconnect to the large brick house on North 18th Street, built in 1730 for James Logan, then colonial secretary to William Penn. Even people who lived on the same block, residents for 50 or 60 years, had never set foot inside the house, said Alvina Brown, a block captain and Democratic Party committee woman.
Yet on Saturday, longtime residents will be among the community ambassadors for the Dinah Memorial Project, an enterprise aimed at creating a way to retell for the 21st century the story of Dinah, a onetime enslaved housekeeper at Stenton known for saving the mansion from being burned by the British.
January 3, 2019- I have always been a bit jealous of the other sections of Philadelphia. South, West, the Riverwards, and even the Northeast have recognizable identities that translate their neighborhood history. North Philly, where I grew up, hasn’t been so lucky. Gentrification, redlining, and a rabid real estate grab is displacing African American families who have lived in and historically defined neighborhoods in the area for generations. The sinking, man-made disaster of the Logan Triangle and the mix of gun violence, deep poverty, minimum opportunities, and blight has left the Black legacy of North Philly in near social and environmental ruin.
"Historic Stenton to honor enslaved housekeeper who saved the house from burning by the Brits"- Stephan Salisbury
December 12, 2018- It is not known exactly when Dinah was born or when she died.
Actually, no one is exactly sure of anything about Dinah other than that she was owned by Hannah Emlen Logan, wife of William Logan, proprietor of Stenton, the great historic house at 4601 N. 18th St. in Logan, hard by Germantown.
Slavery is an obdurate fact, and the 18th-century Quakers of Philadelphia were increasingly repulsed by it, leading the Logans, one of the city’s great founding Quaker families, to free Dinah in 1776.
November 2018- Archaeologists from AECOM conducted a Ground Penetrating Radar study in Stenton Park. In this photo, we are testing an area of the newly renovated Recreation Center that was previously the site of a memorial to Dinah. Notes from the early 20th century suggest that the site of the memorial marked the location of Dinah’s grave. The GPR study will tell us if any anomalies, including possible graves, are located in this area of Stenton Park. Click "READ MORE" to view the full report.
November 2018- Given the unruliness of time machines, apt to choose their own destinations, you'll need a bike, car or septa to see the scattered sites where enslaved Black women helped to get colonial Philadelphia going. (Pages 18-19)
"INEQUALITY IN BRONZE Puts People and Memorials in Conversation at Stenton"- Laura Keim, Stenton Curator
September 2018- Historic sites can play a role in the current nation debate about the meanings of public monuments and memorials deemed racist, insensitive, or inappropriate, by re-contextualizing and interpreting objects that represent the values of the past. Stenton, the c. 1730 historic house and plantation seat of Philadephia's Logan family, recently acquired a 1939 bronze memorial to James Logan, Quaker Colonial Statesman, Stenton's builder, and enslaver of Africans. The anticipated arrival of the Memorial sparked the idea for INEQUALITY IN BRONZE. (Pages 5-6)
June 2018- Stenton has been awarded a $300,000 grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for the project, Inequality in Bronze: Monumental Plantation Legacies. Inequality in Bronze addresses the role that historic sites can play in the national debate over monuments, and the absence of memorials to millions of Africans and African Americans who lived as enslaved people, whose contributions to our history remain ignored in many public spaces.