Central Pennsylvania African American History for Everyone
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Banner headline Former Slave Dies



the 20th Century

George Washington Morgan, a Formerly Enslaved
African American Resident


Significant numbers of formerly enslaved African Americans made their homes in central Pennsylvania in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some escaped enslavement and traveled north via the Underground Railroad before 1865. Many more found themselves no longer enslaved by war's end and looked north for job opportunites or to escape the harsh poverty and crushing racism of southern Reconstruction. The first few decades of the 20th century saw large numbers of southern Blacks moving north to take advantage of the plentiful jobs in northern industries.

Their presence in northern cities enriched each African American community. Their shared first-hand stories of lives enslaved broadened the historical perspective and served to counter the "Lost Cause" myths. Knowing which citizens were formerly enslaved is invaluable for modern historians and persons researching their family histories. Small connections can often add up to bigger stories. The news items below represent snippets in the lives of these persons.

Burial Notice, Ocober 25, 1915

1915 Burial notice for George Washington Morgan, a formerly enslaved resident of Sharon Hill, PA

Text of news article:
Former Slave Buried at Sharon Hill

  Funeral services for George Washington Morgan, 80 years old, a former slave, were held yesterday in Sharon Hill, where he had lived for more than 55 years. Many white persons attended. Morgan, when he was 25 years old, escaped to Pennsylvania by the "underground railway."

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 25 October 1915, p. 3.

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