Pennsylvania says, not in this State
On March 1, 1780, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed "An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery." This was four years after the Declaration and seven years before the Constitution was adopted. It became a model for abolition laws across the Northern states. It was gradual because it had to unravel the complex system the British Empire had imposed.
The Pennsylvania representatives stated:
When we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us. ... We esteem it a peculiar blessing granted to us, that we are enabled this day to add one more step to universal civilization, by removing as much as possible the sorrows of those who have lived in undeserved bondage[.]
In fact, Pennsylvania's opposition to slavery goes back much earlier:
- 1758 — Pennsylvania Quakers forbid their members from owning slaves or participating in the slave trade.
- On March 1, 1780, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed "An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery" inside Independence Hall.
- 1835 — The State House bell's inscription is "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof." The Anti-Slavery Record, an abolitionist publication, first referred to the bell as the "Liberty Bell" in 1835. It became a rallying cry for abolitionists wishing to end slavery.
In contradiction to this record, the Pulitzer Center is introducing a new program it calls "American Hypocrisy" into schools. The people running the Center have taken the 1619 Project newspaper text and created curricular resources such as lesson plans, sets of discussion questions, and short projects students can complete in class or at home. These resources facilitate teachers introducing the program.
Day 2 Lesson Objectives
Explore the hypocrisy in the foundation of the U.S. as it relates to African American people.
Classwork: Read the article "The Idea of America" and answer the following questions in writing:
2. Hannah-Jones writes, "Anti-Black racism runs in the very DNA of this country." How do you interpret this quote?
The 1619 Project's anti-Black racism is not in the DNA of Pennsylvania. Parents want Pennsylvania schools to teach facts instead of these divisive opinions.
Parents want to know what is accomplished by asking children to interpret a writer who made such a hostile accusation while providing the "intellectual framework" for the 1619 Project. Parents who know America want schools to teach facts instead of the Pulitzer Center program in their schools.
Image: Public Domain.