A house of learning, past and present.
'Black History at Stenton Museum' by Constance Garcia-Barrio, The Philadelphia Sunday Sun
February 23, 2023- Among Philadelphia’s museum houses, Stenton, at 4601 N. 18th Street, near Wayne Junction, has a distinctive Black history. An enslaved man once burnt down an outbuilding on the property, while years later, a freedwoman saved the mansion when British soldiers threatened to set it afire.
Five unique ways to experience Philadelphia’s past
September 17, 2021- As students explore the historic streets of Philadelphia, one professor is working to remind everyone to venture off the beaten path. According to Seth Bruggeman, associate professor of history and director of the Center for Public History, Temple has been directly involved in preserving and promoting some of our city’s most interesting, lesser known sites, developing creative interpretive programming and unique engagement opportunities for all.
"Black History Celebrated in New Documentary, Graphic Novel, and Other Grantee Works" - The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
February 17, 2021- Many Center grantees are exploring and animating Black history through a variety of artistic works and programming that bring new insights to the stories, experiences, and influence of Black Americans. Projects examine topics ranging from the important impact of Black Philadelphians and communities with deeply rooted Black cultural history, to Haitian influences on the music and culture of New Orleans, and the history and present-day implications of segregated swimming pools in America.
In recognition of Black History Month, read about some of these imaginative projects and how you can experience them for yourself.
"Adoration Conquers Adversity in These Philadelphia Love Stories" - Keshler Thibert
February 11, 2021- As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t help but ponder the hard choices that Black, brown, and interracial couples have had to make as a testament to their love in places that rendered their chances of commencing, or sustaining, their relationship almost impossible.
Although I have been in a few relationships, I still cannot clearly imagine the hardships imposed on our ancestors by external forces, such as biased social attitudes, cruel people, and unfair courts and laws. I have tried and failed to truly understand the anxiety of purchasing a loved one out of slavery or the fear while to escaping from a slave owner to pursue freedom. Other hardships for many included being harshly judged for choosing a mixed relationship and being hated for whatever reason and having one’s home burned to the ground.
"William Penn kept enslaved people. These are some of their names." - Michaela Winberg
August 17, 2020- Philadelphia and Pennsylvania founder William Penn’s legacy is widely known as one of religious tolerance and willingness to negotiate with Indigenous people. But in some ways, the namesake of this very news site was not all that different from other rich, white men of his time.
Penn, though a pacifist Quaker, kept several Black enslaved people during his time overseeing his colony — even as the practice grew increasingly unpopular among Pennsylvanians.
We only know a few of their names, but we know that like many people, they worshipped, married for love, and gave birth to children.
"Philadelphia Will Memorialize Dinah, an Enslaved Woman Who Saved the City’s Historic Stenton House in 1777" - Katherine J. Wu
May 1, 2020- Philadelphia’s Stenton House—a historic landmark built in the early 18th century for colonial statesman James Logan—wouldn’t be standing today if not for the heroic efforts of Dinah, one of the many African American women once enslaved by the property’s owners.
Freed from slavery in 1776, just months before the Declaration of Independence was signed, Dinah took a paid job as a housekeeper at Stenton. The following fall, she encountered two British soldiers who told her that they intended to set the building ablaze. After the pair retreated to the adjacent barn to gather kindling, Dinah alerted a British officer who had stopped by the residence in search of deserters to the would-be arsonists’ presence. The soldiers were promptly arrested.
"Philadelphia Will Finally Memorialize an Enslaved Woman Freed in 1776" - Karen Chernick
April 30, 2020- Dinah is a local legend for saving Stenton House—but she should be remembered for much more.
The unmarked grave of Dinah, a formerly enslaved Philadelphian who has become a local legend in the two centuries since her death, could be under any of the six grassy acres that make up Philadelphia’s Stenton Park. Her remains could be under the playground, picnic tables, or line of trees surrounding Stenton, a colonial-era mansion that belonged to James Logan. “We know she was buried somewhere on the grounds,” says Kaelyn Barr, director of education at the Stenton House Museum & Gardens. “We are not sure where.”
"Yesterday and Today" - Constance Garcia-Barrio
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.
"Temple student seeks to better represent formerly enslaved woman"- Asa Cadwallader
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.
"Artists to reveal how they will retell story of ‘Dinah,’ once known only as the ‘faithful colored caretaker’ " -Valerie Russ
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.
Ground Penetrating Radar Report
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.
"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)
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
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.