To all CHS friends and neighbors:

Please note the CHS May Meeting will be postponed until the fall. Updates to CHS meeting schedule will be posted on this website. Please stay safe and healthy.

– Charlestown Historical Society

“The Underground Railroad in Kennett Square and Wilmington:  How Peace-loving Quakers Helped Win the Civil War”

by Gene Pisasale, historian and author

Please come join us for Charlestown Historical Society’s second Spring meeting.

  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020
  • Charlestown Elementary School cafeteria
  • 7:00pm-9:00pm
Please park in the lot to the right side of the school next to the School Bus parking lot, and enter through Door # 5.  Follow signs to the meeting in the cafeteria.
Our speaker will be Gene Pisasale, a historian and author, who has spoken to us several times.  His topic is “The Underground Railroad in Kennett Square and Wilmington:  How Peace-loving Quakers Helped Win the Civil War”

From Gene Pisasale’s website:

The Underground Railroad in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware was a conduit for thousands of slaves to escapeand gain their freedom. A Quaker group- the Longwood Progressive Friends- were active abolitionists; they believed that ending slavery would resolve the chaos enveloping the nation. Some members of the group met with Lincoln at the White House in June 1862 to persuade him on this issue; the President later released the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in areas controlled by Federal troops. This ingenious move allowed blacks to fight and eventually bring victory for the Union in the Civil War.

Download Lecture Summary: The Underground Railroad

Anyone who has visited Longwood Gardens has passed close to this historic building, the Longwood Progressive Friends Meetinghouse, which now houses the Brandywine Valley Tourism Information Bureau.

Local Quakers differed over how to respond to slavery. In 1853, a group of 58 men and women founded the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends. Their Meetinghouse became a beacon to reformers throughout the United States for movements such as the abolition of slavery, women’s rights and temperance. Renowned speakers and visitors included Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Ann Preston, William Lloyd Garrison and Thomas Garrett. Many local abolitionists active in the Underground Railroad are buried in the cemetery. Today the building houses the Brandywine Valley Tourism Information Bureau.

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