2024 HTHS Spring Talk

Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia: Street Diplomacy and the Struggle over Slavery and Freedom

Thursday, April 11, 2024 7:30PM
Where: The Quadrangle

As the most southern of northern cities in a state that bordered three slave states, antebellum Philadelphia maintained a long tradition of both abolitionism and fugitive slave activity. Although Philadelphia’s Black community lived in a free city in a free state, they faced constant threats to their personal safety and freedom. Enslavers, kidnappers, and slave catchers prowled the streets of Philadelphia in search of potential victims, violent anti-Black riots erupted in the city, and white politicians legislated to undermine Black freedom.

In Street Diplomacy, Elliott Drago illustrates how the political and physical conflicts that arose over fugitive slave removals and the kidnappings of free Black people forced Philadelphians to confront the politics of slavery.

To register for the event, follow this link. Seating is limited!

Dr. Elliott Drago earned his B.A. in History and Education from Saint Joseph’s University, M.A. in United States History from Villanova University, and his Ph.D. in United States History from Temple University. His research focuses on slavery in the United States, particularly the kidnapping of free Black Americans prior to the Civil War. Elliott currently works as the Resident Historian and Manager of History Initiatives at the Jack Miller Center, a civic education nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s founding principles and history.