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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

March 23, 2017

--by Kenneth J. Ross

Philadelphia’s importance as a center of African American history rests in part on its role as the birthplace of the nation’s first black churches. It was the churches which gave shape and protection to the emerging African American community in the urban North—educating their young, disciplining their members, and providing young and old with material support, moral guidance, and spiritual hope. Philadelphia saw both the...

March 15, 2017

After viewing the groundbreaking movie Hidden Figures, which tells the story of three African American women mathematicians, I found myself searching for any and all information I could locate about the real life women the movie is based on.

I started with a fantastic book written by Margot Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, and was pleasantly...

February 22, 2017

--by Kelly Kean

I share a love of history with my mother. As a dedicated family historian she has been researching our genealogy since the age of seventeen, developing a particularly keen interest in the branch of our family that settled in western South Carolina in the decades before the Revolutionary War. Equally captivated by the complex history of the region, I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history, writing a “farm-to-fork” history of provisioning urban Charleston in the antebellum era.

While catching up on episodes of PBS’s...

February 9, 2017

--by Richard Reifsnyder

Among the pleasant surprises of my 45th reunion at Yale Divinity School was the discovery that the seminary had given long overdue recognition to James W.C. Pennington, the first African American to attend Yale. A room and scholarship were dedicated in his honor and a portrait hung in the common room with other theological luminaries.[1] In a time...

January 26, 2017

In celebration of the contributions of African American mission workers, here's another story from Record Group 424, our collection of missionary personnel files from 1924-2002.

Marsha Snulligan Haney and her husband Willie were mission workers in Cameroon from 1982 to 1987. Marsha was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her early experiences of racism, including being refused service at restaurants in the South, fueled her dedication to fight racial injustice through her faith. In her application to mission...

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