"Hidden Histories" of African American Women in Philadelphia, Building a More Perfect Union from the 1700s to the Present

In the summer of 2022, teachers participated in an Advanced Summer Institute sponsored by the Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) and hosted by the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) and Independence National Historical Park. During the one-week institute, teachers began exploring "Hidden Histories of African American Women in Philadelphia" and preparing to integrate these histories into classroom practices. Check out the institute website.

The institute was supported by a grant from the National Writing Project funded by the National Endowment of Humanities. The Philadelphia grant, “Hidden Histories of African American Women in Philadelphia, Building a More Perfect Union from the 1700s to the present" references the book, They Carried Us: The Social Impact of Philadelphia's Black Women Leaders (Baker-Rogers & Traylor 2020). They Carried Us chronicles the incredibly important work of African American women in Philadelphia.

During the 2022-2023 school year, PhilWP and AAMP are hosting a “Hidden Histories” Panel Series. The panel series features educators, scholars, activists, and community members who reflect on the work of African American women leaders in Philadelphia. Many of the events, which are open to the public, include tours of exhibitions at AAMP. Check out images and recordings of the panels below.

The panel series and the institute also connect to work PhilWP teacher consultants have been doing to develop curriculum materials and professional development to support civically engaged argument writing in K-12 classrooms, which is supported by a Teaching with Primary Sources grant from the Library of Congress. Working across grant projects, PhilWP hosted a webinar on "Searching for digitized historical primary sources about Black women leaders in Philadelphia."


Saturday, October 15, 2022

"Connecting the Archival Dots: The Social and Environmental Impact of Philadelphia’s Black Women Leaders in three Classrooms"

Three PhilWP teacher consultants co-facilitated a panel at the annual Celebration of Writing and Literacy at the Penn Museum. The session presenters attended the 2022 PhilWP Advanced Institute offered in collaboration with the African American Museum in Philadelphia. This institute, “Making Visible the Hidden Histories of African American Women in Philadelphia,” was funded by an NEH grant and supported by the NWP and the Library of Congress’s Teaching with Primary Sources Partner Program. The session featured examples from Eileen Lawson’s 6th and 7th grade family interview and scrapbook projects from Childs Elementary School in the School District of Philadelphia, Dr. Kathleen Murphey’s students’ multimodal projects at the Community College of Philadelphia, and Dr. Jasmine Yarish’s University of the District of Columbia students’ work that focuses on environmentalism and abolitionism with an eye on Black women in and around Philadelphia.


Saturday, November 5, 2022

"Race and Education"

The November panel, “Race & Education,” featured Philadelphia educators who highlighted the work of Black women from the past and present who have made a difference in the lives of children, especially for Black and Brown youth.

View the panel program.


Saturday, February 11, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00pm ET

"Making the System Work"

This panel will highlight the ways in which women like Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander; Justice Juanita Kidd Stout, Dr. Ethel Allen, Roxanne Jones made the system work in impactful ways for Philadelphia using They Carried Us: The social impact of Philadelphia's Black Women Leaders by Baker-Rogers & Traylor as the anchor text. In collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia, teachers will explore how the ‘hidden histories’ of Black women from the past can inspire new ways forward for developing curriculum, lesson plans, and students’ writing and visual literacies. We will also explore curriculum created by Philadelphia teachers to build an understanding of the historic Colored Convention as well as presentations on using visual art as texts. This panel will conclude with an exploration of the museum’s exhibits.

Saturday, March 30, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00pm ET

"Building a More Perfect Union"

This panel couples exploration of exhibit “Rising Sun on American Democracy” at AAMP with discussion on the histories of the “third reconstruction.” Additionally, there will be an Author Talk by Allender Baker Rogers and Fasaha M. Traylor/ “They Carried Us: The Social Impact of Philadelphia’s Black Women Leaders” and public reception highlighting the work and primary resources gathered across the year and inviting next steps for ongoing work of “Building a More Perfect Union”.