About the Book

Black Philadelphians have shaped Philadelphia history since colonial times.

In Black History in the Philadelphia Landscape, Amy Cohen recounts notable aspects of the Black experience in Philadelphia from the late 1600s to the 1960s and how this history is marked in the contemporary city.

Each chapter explores an event or historical figure and how it is memorialized in the landscape, by historical marker, monument, mural, or some other means—followed by a short list of actions to take to learn more about the topic (e.g. a site to visit, a website to explore, a film to watch, a primary source to examine). Some chapters feature reflections by people with direct connections to the topic. The chapters are organized chronologically, so while the book is not comprehensive, it gives the reader a strong sense of Philadelphia’s African American history from the late 1600s through the 20th century. With relatively short chapter lengths and a straightforward writing style, Black History in the Philadelphia Landscape is approachable for the general public as well as for students at the secondary level and beyond.

Black History in the Philadelphia Landscape includes reflections by:

Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker
Founder and CEO of Global Leadership Academy

Michael Coard, Esquire
Founding Member and Chief Strategist of ATAC, the Avenging the Ancestors Coalition

Coach Kenneth Hamilton
Retired Educator, Athletic Director, and Coach (Benjamin Franklin High School, 1966-1999)

Rev. Dr. Charles Howard
University Chaplain and Vice President for Social Equity & Community at the University of Pennsylvania

Karen Asper Jordan
President of the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters

Karyn Olivier

Jillian Patricia Pirtle
CEO of the Marian Anderson Museum and Historical Society

Hon. Christopher Rabb
Pennsylvania State Representative

Mable Ellis Welborn
Board Chair at the Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust

Amy Jane Cohen

Amy Cohen is an educator, historian, and writer. After twenty years teaching social studies, she became Director of Education for History Making Productions and is a contributing writer for Hidden City Philadelphia.

    Recent Writing

  • Philly’s Black history can be seen through its landscape

    The Philadelphia Inquirer
    The seeds of Black history month were planted by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 — but to him, it was just a week, and not meant to be the... Read More
  • Honoring Hakim’s, West Philadelphia Landmark

    Hidden City Philadelphia
    In August 2023, West Philly will have a new historical marker. Hakim’s Bookstore and Gift Shop, founded in 1959, is one of the oldest Black-owned bookstores in the nation. It... Read More