A Philly history podcast. Philadelphia is a treasure trove of stories. Many of these stories are hidden in plain sight. We walk by them everyday and don’t see them. Other stories we think we know, but we don’t look close enough to see the details. The Found in Philadelphia podcast aims to bring these stories into focus, to introduce you to the places and people of Philly, and to help you see the city with new eyes. Each story will highlight a moment in Philly’s past that still impacts us today. Every episode will take you on a field trip in the city that you can experience for yourself. Find out more at foundinphiladelphia.com.
Episode No. 8 – History of the Street… Coming soon!
At long last… the Found in Philadelphia podcast is back with a new series about the history of Philly’s streets. It’s been… a pandemic. But it feels good to be back.
While you’re waiting, check out some Philly history in the news:
The amazing Sha’von Smith and the Grounded Theatre Company continue to produce original works that are inspired by history. See what they’re up to next at www.groundedtheatrecompany.org, and bring the theatre production to your school courtesy of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion.
Residents choose to rename their street after Caroline Le Count! Read all about it at www.renametaney.com.
Archeological excavations continue at the James West shipyard site along Columbus Boulevard, revealing insights into Philadelphia’s early trading history.
Philly’s 7th Ward Tribute project is working with artists on a place-based experience to be installed later this year. Stay tuned at www.7thwardtribute.com
Beyond the Bell Tours is back in person, offering inclusive history tours for visitors and locals alike at www.beyondthebelltours.com.
Get in touch on your Instagram or at the Found in Philadelphia podcast website.
Episode 1: The Germantown Protest of 1688
I became interested in the story of the Germantown Protest of 1688 after hearing about it on another podcast, the “Seeing White” series by the Scene on Radio podcast. I highly recommend the entire series, but “Episode 33: Made in America” was where I first heard about the Germantown Protest. I was surprised that I had never heard of it before, being a Philadelphia history nerd. So, of course, I rushed to the internet and quickly found all of the fascinating threads of this story. How the writers were there at the very beginning of Penn’s colony. How they founded Germantown after facing religious intolerance in Europe for generations. How their search for the true way, the right way, to live led them to join one religious splinter group and then another. How angry they were when the Quaker’s colony of Pennsylvania fell short of their dreams by allowing African slavery to thrive here. And how the Protest itself somehow survived and was now in the archives of Haverford College.
The “Seeing White” series also connected me to Ibram Kendi’s book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racism in America. While Kendi does not delve into the backstory of the Protest, he does put it into context within the history of anti-racist ideas in America. I would also highly recommend Stamped from the Beginning for providing the reader with a pair of magical glasses that allow you to see his three proposed historical trends throughout American history: anti-racism, assimilationist theories, and straight up racism. You’ll start seeing these trends everywhere, maybe even in your own personal beliefs. Kendi contends that anti-racist activists have had to fight against not only racism, but also assimilationist ideas, which might be well-meaning but still perpetuate racist thinking.
My pursuit of the Germantown Protest story took me across war-torn northern Europe in the 1600s, where I discovered the violent histories of the Mennonites and Amish, and all of the other splinter groups they formed. It made me completely revise my preconceived notions about these religious groups, who are still a large part of central Pennsylvania culture. You need to take a look at the Martyr’s Mirror, a seminal publication for both Mennonites and Amish, which was first published in 1660, to understand how religious persecution, defiance, and radicalism helped define these groups. While we might think of them as somewhat old-fashioned today, they were well-organized, white-hot radicals of their day, and were just starting to be tolerated by the end of the seventeenth century.
As I pursued the different threads of the Germantown Protest story, I kept running into the work of historian Katherine Gerbner. She was everywhere I went, answering the questions that I had, following in the footsteps of the writers of the Protest, and giving this story a fresh perspective. This episode owes a great deal to her research. And if you were shocked to learn that Pennsylvania’s Quaker founders were slave owners who profited from the slave trade, Gerbner has been working on that history too. Her recent book, Christian Slavery, tackles the complicity of Protestantism with slavery across the Atlantic world. This episode only scratches the surface of that story.
Beiler, Rosalind J.
Episode 2: The Aftermath of the Germantown Protest
Early colonial Philadelphia was a place of contention. Colonists had strong opinions about what this Quaker experiment should look like, and they didn’t always agree. From its earliest days, Philadelphia was a diverse place with class divisions, religious discord, and economic inequality. These fractures in the young colony were intensified by the practice of slavery by the wealthy Quaker elite. But Philadelphia was also a center of dogged, grass-roots activism and resistance, especially in the newly founded settlement of Germantown.
Find out more at https://foundinphiladelphia.com/
Episode No. 3 – The Life and Times of Caroline R. Le Count: Part 1
An important moment of the Civil Rights movement happened right here in Philadelphia, and it took place nearly 100 years earlier than the well-known demonstrations of the twentieth century.
Philadelphia in the 1860s was a city on the move. The city was growing fast and developing new city-wide services, but progress wasn’t being felt equally by all of its residents. Philadelphia’s free Black population was discriminated against and was excluded from the city’s progress. In response, Black residents of the Seventh Ward established their own system of schools, banks, libraries, and healthcare. However, during the turmoil of the Civil War, Black residents seized the moment to upend the status quo in Philadelphia. The battlefront was on the streets of Philly, and those in the front lines were Black women, ready for the fight.
This episode is the first in a three-part series on the life of one of those women, Caroline Le Count. Find out more in the companion blog post to this episode at https://foundinphiladelphia.com/
Episode No. 4 – The Life and Times of Caroline R. Le Count: Part 2
A city at war with a not-so-distant enemy, hospitals overwhelmed and spilling over into temporary tents, nurses asking citizens to donate critical supplies, it’s Philadelphia in 1863.
Philadelphia was central to the Union war machine during the Civil War, but that doesn’t mean it was a bastion of abolitionist sentiment. As the war exposes deep inequality in the city, some citizens see an opportunity to push for change on the streets of Philadelphia. So, even as the city is organizing and mobilizing for the war effort to the south, the city’s own streetcars are becoming the frontlines of a battle for civil rights. Philadelphia’s Black women are putting their bodies on the line in this fight. And like any battle, there is violence, murder, and those left to carry on.
This episode is the second in a three-part series on the life of one of these women, Caroline Le Count. Find out more in the companion blog post to this episode at https://foundinphiladelphia.com/. And if you enjoyed the episode, I’d love it if you left a review in your podcast app.
Episode No. 5 – Philadelphia Public Schools and Caroline R. Le Count: Part 1
In this city, there are very different educational opportunities for the wealthy and the poor. But reformers and activists are trying to find ways to provide an education for all children. It is the beginning of a colossal and imperfect experiment in publicly-funded schools in nineteenth-century Philadelphia.
One group in particular, Black Philadelphians, was determined not to be left out of this educational experiment. They undertook studies to understand in detail the state of education in their community. And they invested in training a new generation of teachers, who were ready to take charge in the years following the Civil War. Some of the best and brightest worked to create quality schools for Black children within this emerging public school system. One of these educators and activists was the formidable Caroline Le Count. This episode is part of a series on Le Count, this late-nineteenth century educator and activist. It is the first of two episodes that will look at Le Count’s legacy in public education.
Find out more and see a full bibliography in the companion blog for this episode at https://foundinphiladelphia.com/. And for some additional visuals for this episode, you can check out the podcast on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/found.in.philadelphia/
I’m about to move to Philadelphia and I’m really enjoying your well-researched episodes that are helping me learn about my future home. Thanks!
Extremely well researched and well done
This is a fantastically well researched and engaging podcast. I especially enjoyed the Caroline LeCount series of episodes. I enjoyed the guests as well as the music! Lori has done an amazing job.
Great history podcast!
As a lifelong Philadelphian it was amazing to hear new stories about my city and places I’ve been going to all my life. I hope more such history can be highlighted going forward. This is a unique treasure and we need more content like this.