A new exhibit on the African American experience in post-colonial Philadelphia offers a largely untold perspective on the city's rich history.
Opening today at the African American Museum at Seventh and Arch Streets, the exhibit marks a drastic turning point in how U.S. history is typically told.
"Audacious Freedom: African Americans In Philadelphia, 1776-1876" is the first permanent exhibit at the museum narrating an epic sweep stretching from slavery to the post-Civil War era. It includes two galleries and engaging life-size videos.
Visitors will get to learn about Philadelphians such as Black Alice, an enslaved African; abolitionist Robert Purvis; and Octavius Catto, a 19th-century political activist who was assassinated by whites in 1871.
Local officials hope the $4.5 million high-tech exhibit will provide a much-needed hub for an African American history trail that includes the President's House memorial, Mother Bethel AME Church, and other nearby attractions.
Even today's opening date has a history lesson. It coincides with "Juneteenth," a celebration commemorating the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Union soldiers finally reached Galveston, Texas, with news that the war was over and that President Abraham Lincoln two years earlier had declared all the enslaved free.