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Episode No. 6 – Philadelphia Public Schools and Caroline Le Count: Part 2

Philadelphia, 1867. A 21-year-old Black woman was recently appointed principal of a new public school on a small alley in the Seventh Ward. This woman is Caroline Le Count, and she will go on to build the largest Philadelphia public school with an all Black student body, and an all Black teaching staff. But Le Count’s successful experiment will be short lived, and we are still living with the consequences of that fallout today.

In the years following the Civil War, Philadelphia invested in its public school system and developed new types of schools. We might recognize some of these today. They included “normal” schools for training teachers, industrial schools for the skilled trades, select magnet high schools, and night schools for adults.

Pioneering African-American educators saw an opportunity to create good public schools for the Black community as well. They knew that all Black schools were needed in order to create jobs for Black teachers, who could not teach at all white, or mixed schools. The educator activist, Caroline Le Count, dedicated her career to establishing one of these all Black schools, and to fiercely defending and advocating for her fellow Black, public school teachers. This is the second of two episodes that looks at Le Count’s legacy in public education and what we can learn from it.

Please participate in the Found in Philadelphia podcast survey here:

You can attend Shav’on Smith’s “Tea with Frederick Douglass” event at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion at

Find out more and see a full bibliography and additional images in the companion blog for this episode at

And for some additional visuals for this episode, you can check out the podcast on Instagram at


  1. Dia L. Jones Dia L. Jones

    Excellent work, Lori. I loved learning even more about Caroline Le Count and the history of education in Philadelphia. I am excited to share this with others and about the podcasts to come. Keep fighting! One love…

  2. Marie-Line Germain Marie-Line Germain

    Good evening:
    My name is Marie Germain. I am a member of the Bella Vista Preservation Committee. I am trying to get in touch with you (Lori) to find out if you’d be open to hosting a couple of podcasts about Bella Vista.
    Please contact me at
    Thanks! Marie

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