Main Line History Through an Anti-Racist Lens Two Community-wide Webinars

Main Line History Through an Anti-Racist Lens: Two Community-wide Webinars

The Story of Enslaved People on the Main Line


The Great Migration and the Main Line

The Story of Enslaved People
on the Main Line

Executive Director Bruce Gill shares the history and legacy of Harriton House, considered one of the northern most slave plantations in the United States. The original estate, named Bryn Mawr, was changed to Harriton when Richard Harrison purchased the property and introduced tobacco and the slave economy to the estate in 1719. As we learn more about this history we will be in conversation about what it means to confront this reality as a part of our Main Line identity.

Bruce Gill, Executive Director and Curator at historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr, has worked at this restored home of Charles Thomson, only Secretary to the Continental and Confederation Congress for 45 years. Bruce has a degree in in history and archaeology from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, and a master's in American Civilization from The George Washington University. Bruce has been involved the restoration and preservation of other buildings in Philadelphia and Bethlehem and worked on exhibitions about early education in Philadelphia, an anniversary of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, and Absalom Jones, the first Black Priest in the Episcopal Church for the 200th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, reinstalled at Christ Church Philadelphia in the early 2000's.



The Great Migration
and the Main Line

Craig Bailey, Villanova historian, will share the stories and history he has uncovered in his research into the local African American community on the Main Line. Focusing primarily on the movement of communities in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bailey will help us better understand the dynamics and people who shaped our community and how the role of racist systems and policies impacted the lives of our neighbors.

Craig Bailey received his PhD in History from the University of London in 2004. He has been a faculty member in the Department of History at Villanova University since 2006 where he teaches courses on Irish, British, European and Urban history. His current research, which builds off his interests in urban/suburban development, explores the relationships between the making of history, people and place, with a particular focus on the Main Line.

These webinars are sponsored in partnership between Bethel AME Church of Ardmore and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.