Celebrating Black History Month with the Chester County Historical Society

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Primary Contact: 
David Reinfeld, Vice President, Development
Primary Phone: 
610.692.4800 x 267
Primary Email: 
Release Date: 
Friday, February 1, 2013

Black History Month is an important time at the Chester County Historical Society, which focuses on all aspects of history throughout this area. Many aspects of its exhibits and programs highlight the history of the local African American community, including the newest exhibit at CCHS, On the Edge of Battle: Chester County and the Civil War. The exhibit examines life in Chester County during the bloodiest war in our nation’s history. The exhibit focuses on the hopes, struggles, victories and losses of local men and women living in Chester County at the time of the Civil War.

When you enter the Chester County Historical Society to visit On the Edge of Battle, you will receive a “character card” that tells the first part of one of twenty-five individuals’ stories.  These cards include Richard Adams, a member of the Third "U.S. Colored Troops;" Henrietta Cummings, who was born into a free black family and was proposed to by her love before he enlisted; and Joseph Jones, a member of the first black regiment of the war, the 54th Massachusetts. Visitors to the exhibit gallery can search for their ancestors in a database of over 6,000 Chester Countians who served in the war.  Up until the opening of On the Edge of Battle, only 112 records about Chester County African American soldiers in the Civil War were compiled. Now, through research by Archivist Cliff Parker and Photo Archivist Pam Powell, that database includes 925 African Americans.

CCHS is also proud to present Family Day on President’s Day, Monday February 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  An important component to family day is a special kid-friendly presentation by Jen Bryant, author of A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin. Pippin, acclaimed 20th century African American artist, was a native of West Chester and Bryant’s new children’s book brings his story to life through vivid imagery and stories.  See Explore PA History for more information about Pippin’s life and legacy.

Another initiative of the Chester County Historical Society is the Traveling Trunk program. These “trunks” are filled with materials and activities that engage and inform students on important points in our history, including early settlement, the American Revolution, and the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. These trunks are wonderful education resources, and now they are being used in a variety of educational settings. 

On Wednesday, February 27 the US Airways’ African American Diversity Network (AADN) , one of the company-sponsored employee Business Resource Groups that encourage an inclusive workplace through networking and development, has chosen the Horace Pippin Traveling Trunk as an exhibit to be displayed for over 600 employees at the Philadelphia International Airport for the day.

The Paoli Public Library, as well as a group of homeschoolers, will be using Underground Railroad Traveling Trunk during February because of its specific link with the black community during the time of the Civil War, and its focus on the Underground Railroad in Chester County.

On the Edge of Battle: Chester County and the Civil War is open during CCHS’s public hours of 9:30 – 4:30, Wednesday – Saturday.  To find out more or to arrange a group tour or a rental of traveling trunks, please visit ChesterCoHistorical.org or call 610.692.4800. Our deepest gratitude to DNB First, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Fox Chase Bank Charitable Foundation, the Haverford Trust Company, the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau Foundation, Jimmy Duffy Catering, Dr. Florence K. Williams, Fig® West Chester, and the Quaker City Foundation for their support of our exhibit.  

About US Airways

US Airways, along with US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express, operates more than 3,000 flights per day and serves 198 communities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central and South America. The airline employs more than 32,000 aviation professionals worldwide, operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus aircraft and is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers its customers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,329 airports in 194 countries. Together with its US Airways Express partners, the airline serves approximately 80 million passengers each year and operates hubs in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Phoenix, and a focus city in Washington, D.C. at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  US Airways was, for the third year in a row, the only airline included as one of the 50 best companies to work for in the U.S. by LATINA Style magazine’s 50 Report. The airline also earned a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality index for six consecutive years. The Corporate Equality index is a leading indicator of companies’ attitudes and policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and customers. For more company information visit usairways.com, follow on Twitter @USAirways or at Facebook.com/USAirways. (LCCG)