Penn’s Landing: Arrival Point of First Africans, Philadelphia approved for a State Historical Marker


PhillyMPCAncestral Remembrance Day Philly August 5th, 2016 PhillyMPC



June 2nd is now August 5th! To coincide with the unveiling of the new historical marker, PhillyMPC has changed the date for Ancestral Remembrance Day Philly to August 5, 2016.

4/12/16      The Philadelphia Middle Passage Ceremony & Port Marker Project is happy to announce that “Penn’s Landing: Arrival Point of First Africans, Philadelphia” is among the 23 new state historical markers recently approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC)!

Charles Blockson, Curator Emeritus of Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection housed at Temple University Libraries, submitted the nomination including letters of support from members of the community.

The markers, selected from 61 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,300 familiar blue-with-gold-lettering signs that appear along roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.

Among the 23 new state historical markers are Hotel Brotherhood USA, a labor union, established  by hotel workers (1883),  Jackie Ormes, the first African American woman cartoonist, and John S. Fine, Governor of PA (1951 – 1955) whose administration ended segregation of the National Guard and opened the State Police to African Americans. HARRISBURG, Pa., March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire

The proposed date of installation at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River is August 5, 2016. Contact the Blockson Archives for more information.

The proposed text of the Marker will read: (The text has been updated. The final text can be found here).

Penn’s Landing: Arrival Point of First Africans, Philadelphia

The first slave ship arrived at the Philadelphia port in 1684, carrying African slaves to William Penn’s newly established colony.  In the early years of PA, the Quakers in power did little to discourage slavery.  Many owned their own slaves and did not prevent the importation of slaves to the colony.  Although PA is considered a leader in the abolitionist movement, slavery was an accepted institution in the state’s early history.

Research identifying all ports of entry for Africans during the 350 years of the transatlantic human trade* identifies the Port of Philadelphia on the Delaware River as one of more than 175 middle passage ports in 50 nations of North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Established in 2013, The Philadelphia Middle Passage Ceremony & Port Marker Project (PhillyMPC) has worked to gather support for the nomination and raise funds for the installation of a historical marker in their memory. On June 2nd, each year, PhillyMPC has commemorated the Africans who perished in the Middle Passage by observing Ancestral Remembrance Day on Penn’s Landing.

PhillyMPC supports the larger, ongoing effort to build an International Coalition to Commemorate African Ancestors of the Middle Passage (ICCAAMP), in conjunction with the UNESCO Slave Route Project, to bring together all individuals, organizations, programs, and events related to the retrieval and preservation of Middle Passage history and heritage, including Remembrance ceremonies held around the United States and the world.  Since 2011, a non-profit umbrella organization, the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP). executive Director Ann Chinn, has supported the planning of ancestral remembrance ceremonies by geographic regions in all U.S. cities that were middle passage ports.



Blessing of the River, Ancestral Remembrance Day 2013, Photo by Bob Lott

Giving these events even more significance, this is the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024)..

March 23: Marks the observance of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 

August 23:  International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 


*Recorded Ships Importing Africans into Pennsylvania and NJ (1760 – 1800)       * Data obtained from Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, Emory University (


Denise Valentine, Project Coordinator: 

The Philadelphia Middle Passage Ceremony and Port Marker Project  

~Ancestral Remembrance Day Philly

P.S. (We are considering changing the June 2nd date for Ancestral Remembrance Day to August 5th to coincide with the installation of the marker. Do you think this is a good idea? Contact us.)

PhillyMPC Biz card 2016





About Storymama01

Professional Storyteller, Blogger, Teaching Folk Artist, Cultural Curator, Consultant, History Lover, Humanist
This entry was posted in African American, culture and politics, exploration and conquest, history, Public History and Memory and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Penn’s Landing: Arrival Point of First Africans, Philadelphia approved for a State Historical Marker

  1. Pingback: Ancestral Remembrance Day Philly 2016 | storymama01

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