Chapter

The Settlement of New Philadelphia

Paul A. Shackel

in New Philadelphia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780520266292
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947832 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520266292.003.0001
The Settlement of New Philadelphia

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The founding of New Philadelphia in west-central Illinois by Free Frank McWorter is a compelling and heroic narrative about freedom and the entrepreneurship of an African American family. Frank worked hard to keep his family together and purchase the freedom of his children. The Illinois territory became a battleground between proslavery southerners and abolitionist northerners. Free African Americans were not on equal footing with whites, which makes the development of a multiracial community such as New Philadelphia an even more compelling story. New Philadelphia is the earliest-known town founded, platted, and registered in a county court house by an African American in the United States. Frank McWorter created a strong foundation for the town to grow and his family to prosper over the next generation, despite the growing racist attitudes in the region.

Keywords: New Philadelphia; Frank McWorter; Free African Americans; Illinois; multiracial community

Chapter.  5477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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