Tag Archives: Philadelphia

175th Anniversary of the Burning of Pennsylvania Hall

Photo courtesy of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College

By Chris Densmore, Curator of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College

May 14 was the 175th Anniversary of the 1838 opening of Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Hall was dedicated to “liberty and the rights of man.”

Over the next three days the Hall hosted meetings of the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, the Requited Labor Convention and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Stories, some true, that race mixing, abolition and women speaking were openly countenanced in Pennsylvania Hall attracted a hostile mob of reportedly 25,000 “respectable” citizens of Pennsylvania who surrounded the building yelling and throwing rocks through the windows.

On May 17, 1838, the mob burned Pennsylvania Hall to the ground while the police and firemen looked on. Those inside made a speedy exit. Lucretia Mott had been in the Hall and afterwards she and her husband James waited quietly at home for the mob that was coming to burn their house. Fortunately a friend of the Motts sent the mob off in the wrong direction thus sparing the Mott home.

Lucretia Mott confronted mobs several times. On a later occasion a mob broke up the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York City. Mott sent the man who was escorting her through the mob to assist some of the more timid women and then approached one of the biggest and roughest leaders of the mob. Taking him by the arm, she declared, “This man… He will see me safe through.” Mott was less than five feet tall, less than ninety pounds in weight, and a grandmother. The man saw Mott safely though and the next day they had lunch together.

Other Swarthmore College related people associated with Pennsylvania Hall included Dr. Joseph Parrish, the father of Edward Parrish, Swarthmore’s first president and Caleb Clothier. One of the Vice Presidents of the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women was Mary Magill, mother of Edward Magill, the second president of Swarthmore College. When Swarthmore College opened for instruction in 1869, the examples of Lucretia and James Mott were held up as examples for future Swarthmore students to emulate.

GunCrisis.org: Seeking Solutions to Gun Violence in Philadelphia with Digital Journalism

A public lecture sponsored by our friends at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility

GunCrisis.org: Seeking Solutions to Gun Violence in Philadelphia with Digital Journalism”

Jim_MacMillanTuesday, April 2nd, 2013

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Scheuer Room

Swarthmore College

Maps and Directions

Download a flyer

Jim MacMillan

Former Journalist-in-Residence for War News Radio and Manager of Media and Social Responsibility for the Lang Center, Founder, GunCrisis.org Current Assistant Director for the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University

How do we address the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in America? What is the future and impact of journalism in response to epic changes in information delivery? How can social media be put to use for positive social change? On average, at least one person has been murdered in Philadelphia every day over the last 25 years, and more than three-quarters of them have been killed with a gun.

The Gun Crisis Reporting Project is a non-profit independent journalism organization intended to fill the gaps in gun violence reporting, and to help seek solutions.

Visit: GunCrisis.org.

Sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.


Peace Studies and Action Course Partners with GunCrisis.org

From the Daily Gazette

By Cristina Abellan-Matamoros

January 31, 2013

Professor Lee Smithey’s class, Peace Studies and Action, is partnering this semester with GunCrisis.org, which aims to provide a hard look at the gun violence situation in Philadelphia and innovative solutions to it.

“I think the College as a Philly neighbor, so to speak, can be a voice in raising concern about the epidemic of gun violence,” said Smithey, who teaches sociology and coordinates the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

According to Smithey, the Peace Studies and Action course is designed to use peace building to bridge the gap between academic peace research and peace action.

Taught each spring semester, the course is meant to provide a service to a local organization focused on solving a social problem.

“It’s also a peace and violence problem in our backyard and in many ways we’re isolated from the gun violence in North and West Philadelphia,” he added.

Smithey said the objectives for the course would be to learn more about the program as well as understand the range of initiatives addressing gun violence in Philadelphia while situating it within peace and conflict studies literature.

Aaron Moser ’12, who interned with GunCrisis.org last summer, hopes that the class will educate students about what goes on in Philadelphia concerning gun violence.

“I hope the extra mind power and writing power of these students will allow the organization to have a wider reach to continue building a network in the city and around the country as well as to bring more attention to the gun violence in America’s urban settings and look for solutions,” he said.

The students will be writing journalistic style pieces that GunCrisis.org can post as content for its blog.

Jim MacMillan, co-founder of GunCrisis.org and Manager for Media and Social Responsibility in the Lang Center, hopes that the class will help him build a peace-oriented vertical on the site.

He hopes to encourage use of a “‘#phillypeaceplan’ hashtag to every communication on social media, so we can gather information and get an idea of what the community thinks we should do,” he said.

“There is an opportunity now to embrace the momentum across the nation to reduce gun violence and the human suffering in Philadelphia. The sooner we can expedite the process of ending this violence the fewer people will die, if somebody wants to stop the shooting we would love to work with them,” MacMillan said.

International Day of Peace this week

Peace Day Philly

I just wanted to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that this Friday, Sept. 21 is International Peace Day.

Checkout http://www.peacedayphilly.org/

The United Nations unanimously voted to establish the International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) in 1981. Peace Day was given the fixed calendar date of September 21 by a second unanimous UN resolution in 2001. Peace Day is now estimated to be observed by over 100 million people annually. The 2012 Peace Day global theme is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.”

In recognition of this important annual day of commitment, Richard Unsworth (grandfather of Hannah Gotwals ’13) will be speaking on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Scheuer Room on “Magda and Andre Trocme and Nonviolent Resistance” See https://blogs.swarthmore.edu/academics/2012/09/17/magda-and-andre-trocme-and-nonviolent-resistance/