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Episode No. 7 – Women and the Centennial

Women are organizing to fund raise for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, a moment when our city and our nation will be at the center of an international stage. The United States will be celebrating 100 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The country has just survived a bloody Civil War and is in the middle of Reconstruction. But questions remain about whose country this is anyway, who has the right to lead, and whose role it is to serve. Black American women in Philadelphia have some very clear ideas about that, but they don’t always agree on how best to achieve their goals within the narrow options that are available.

This story is about Philadelphia in the 1870s, but it remains relevant today. It’s about inclusion, what it means to be an American citizen, and whose histories matter. For those in positions of power, for those talking about being “inclusive,” this story has some powerful lessons for us today.


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

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

Please participate in the Found in Philadelphia podcast survey here:

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

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