January 2020, Vol. 144, No. 1
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Gideon Moor’s Road to Freedom, 1764–1777
Amy C. Schutt, Judith L. Van Buskirk
The story of Gideon Moor reveals previously unexplored instances of black activism dating back to pre-Revolutionary War Pennsylvania. Along with his wife, Jenny, and nine children, Moor was enslaved to George Michael Weiss, a German Reformed minister in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, and his wife, Anna. After the death of the Weisses, Moor launched a campaign for liberation for himself and his family members. Not content with freedom, Moor went to court to claim property rights, using the naturalization process to reinforce his claims. Moor partnered with Quaker antislavery activists in his struggles against injustice. His story deepens understandings of early antislavery organizing and networking. Experienced with the world of his contentious German Reformed neighbors and likely inspired by swelling revolutionary rhetoric, Moor alarmed his opponents as he left a record of initiative and persistence that adds important dimensions to the early history of the abolition movement.
Sidney George Fisher, a well-born Philadelphian, kept a voluminous diary during the Civil War era. It is now owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In 1967, Nicholas B. Wainwright introduced Fisher to a wider audience through a handsome edited volume, A Philadelphia Perspective: The Diary of Sidney George Fisher Covering the Years 1834– 1871, which presents selections from the original. This article delves deeper into the unpublished diaries to highlight Fisher’s paradoxical dual rejection both of slavery and democracy. Like Fisher, many Northerners who had long been willing to tolerate slavery turned against it during the war. But Fisher continued to think of African Americans as racially inferior, and he also believed that democracy was “as great an evil as slavery.” Accordingly, he opposed extending voting rights to former slaves, and he wanted to take the ballot away from Irish immigrants. Fisher’s diaries complicate efforts to celebrate the Civil War for advancing values that square with modern sensibilities.
The present article challenges the popular perceptions that historians, documentarians, and policy advisors espouse with respect to the role that Philadelphia’s director of public health, Dr. Wilmer Krusen, played during the city’s uniquely catastrophic outbreak of influenza during the pandemic of 1918–22. The article analyzes the autumn 1918 outbreak and suggests that the portrayal of Krusen as a public health amateur or bumbling incompetent by various authors and multimedia documentaries is misleading. Furthermore, as the threat of epidemics by respiratory viruses—for instance, HPAI H5N1, H1N1, SARS, MERS, and Nipah— appears to increase, public health officials and policymakers may look to history in their own efforts to fashion responses to future urban outbreaks. Historians must take care to avoid incorrect conclusions concerning the failures of Philadelphia’s response to the great influenza epidemic if they wish to make competent suggestions for combating future outbreaks.
This study of the closure, lease, and integration of the municipal pool in York, Pennsylvania, from 1947–1954 shows the important but limited value of the integration of a single recreational facility. The uneventful opening and use of the integrated pool were points of pride for civil rights activists and other city leaders, but the coalition that worked to open an integrated pool was motivated by more than racial justice. Supportive of integration but not outspoken about civil rights in the years leading up to the reopening of the pool, the businessmen and civic leaders who directed the Boys Club offered the solution to the controversy after other leaders and civil rights organizations lobbied city council, staged protests, and filed lawsuits.1 Building on key legal precedents, the York chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) launched successful lawsuits to stop York city council from leasing or selling the pool in order to avoid integration; J. W. Gitt’s radical newspaper, the York Gazette and Daily, kept the injustice of segregation on its front page; and then city boosters provided financial backing to fix the embarrassment of the decaying pool.
John Woolman and the Government of Christ: A Colonial Quaker’s Vision for the British Atlantic World by Jon R. Kershner, and: Warner Mifflin: Unflinching Quaker Abolitionist by Gary B. Nash (review)
Troublesome Women: Gender, Crime, and Punishment in Antebellum Pennsylvania by Erica Rhodes Hayden (review)
Ungentle Goodnights: Life in a Home for Elderly and Disabled Naval Sailors and Marines and the Perilous Seafaring Careers that Brought Them There by Christopher McKee (review)
John M. Kinder
Remembering Lattimer: Labor, Migration, and Race in Pennsylvania Anthracite Country by Paul A. Shackel (review)
Nature and the Environment in Amish Life by David L. McConnell, Marilyn D. Loveless (review)
Russell C. Powell