Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  Where and when was Marian Anderson born?

Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, and she died in Portland, OR on April 8, 1993. She was an African American contralto opera singer, and she was refused entry to the Philadelphia Music Academy on racial grounds. In 1955 she made her debut in opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Ulrica. She was the first black singer for the Metropolitan Opera of New York.

Source: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001, v.1 p. 615, Stanley Sadie, 780.3 N42G2

2.  Who was the first African American astronaut to fly in space?

On August 30, 1983 Guion (Guy) Stewart Bluford Jr. was the first African American to fly in space. He made his maiden voyage into space on the STS-8. He is a native of Philadelphia.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.621, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B

3.  Who designed the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia?

Julian Francis Abele designed the Central Library. He was the chief designer on a team of architects put together by Horace Trumbauer. The building was constructed between 1917 and 1927.

Source: Philadelphia architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.101, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

4.  What was the first insurance company managed by African Americans?

The African Insurance Company of Philadelphia is the first known black insurance company. It was established in 1810. Its president was Joseph Randolph; treasurer, Carey Porter; and secretary, William Coleman.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.85, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

5.  Who was the first African American woman elected to a state legislature?

Crystal Bird Fauset (1893-1965), of Philadelphia, was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1938.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.262, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

6.  What was the first college established for African Americans?

The first college established for African Americans was the Ashmun Institute in Chester County, PA. It was chartered by an act of the Pennsylvania legislature on April 29, 1854 to give theological, classical, and scientific training to African Americans. It opened January 1, 1857. The charter was amended in 1866, and the college changed its name to Lincoln University.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.174, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

7.  What was the first Methodist church for African Americans established in the northern United States?

Mother Bethel Church, founded in August 1794, was the first Methodist church in the North to be organized by African Americans. It was founded by Richard Allen, a former slave, at 6th and Lombard Street in Philadelphia.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.482, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

8.  Who was Philadelphia's first regular African American weeknight television news anchor?
That would be Jack Jones, who in 1972 took over WCAU's evening newscast. In 1976 he moved to KYW-TV and then in 1979 to Chicago and WLS-TV. In 1984 he returned to KYW-TV where he stayed until his death in 1991 from pancreatic cancer.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 03/06/91
9.  Who was Octavius Catto (1839-1871)?
A professor at the Institute for Colored Youth(later Cheyney University), he was shot defending the black vote during riots in 1871. He was also famous for desegregating the streetcars, and organizing a black baseball team, the Pythians.

Source: Milestones, 8/91
10.  What important journalism award did the Philadelphia Tribune win in 1994?
It won the A. Philip Randolph Messenger Award, named after the founder of the 1917 civil rights journal, The Messenger. This award is given for excellence in journalism among African American publications.

Source: Fischer. Fast Answers to Common Questions. n.d., p.3.
11.  What piece of land has been owned the longest by African Americans in the United States?
That is the property at 6th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia, which has been owned by the Bethel African Methodist Church since 1787, and by other African Americans before that. Richard Allen, the Church's founder, is buried in the crypt.

Source: Webster. Philadelphia Preserved. 1976, p.10.
12.  One of the greatest female jazz singers was born in Philadelphia. Who was she?

Eleanora Harris was born on April 7, 1915 at Philadelphia General Hospital. She would grow up to be Billie Holiday.

Source: Billie Holiday, 1995, p.18, Stuart Nicholson, 784.53 H724N

13.  Who wrote the song "Oh! Dem Golden Slippers," heard every year at the Mummer's Parade in Philadelphia?
"Oh! Dem Golden Slippers" was written in 1879 by an African American named James A. Bland. It was played in the Mummers' Parade in 1905. It is still played in Mummers' Parades to this day, and the rhythm and harmony lends itself to the dancing of the Golden Slipper, or Mummers' Strut.

Source: Oh! Dem Golden Slippers, 1970, p.115, Charles E. Welch, 394.5 P53W
14.  Who is the African American who was on the team assembled by Horace Trumbauer to design the Philadelphia Museum of Art?
Julian Abele, the first African American graduate in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania (class of 02), worked for Trumbauer on the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The firm's plans were accepted by the Fairmont Park Commission in 1917.

Source: Germantown Courier, 02/11/1998
15.  What is America's oldest continuously-published, African American newspaper?
The Philadelphia Tribune wins that honor, having been started in 1884 by James Perry, who served as editor, publisher, staff and deliverer.

Source: New York Times, 11/08/1984
16.  In 1884, what Northern city had the largest African American population?
That would be Philadelphia. By 1890 the African American community had grown to 40,000.

Source: New York Times, 11/08/1984
17.  Who was the first African American to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France?
When Julian Abele ended his university studies, Horace Trumbauer, head of an architectural firm in Philadelphia, payed for Abele to attend the prestigious school for four years. Abele then became chief designer at Trumbauer's firm.

Source: Philadelphia Inq., 03/27/1982
18.  Where and when was Julian Abele born?
He was born in South Philadelphia in 1881 and died in 1950. Buildings he helped design include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Free Library, The Widener Library at Harvard University and campus buildings at Duke University.

Source: Philadelphia Inq. 03/27/2000, B1-2
19.  In Philadelphia, where is there a statue to the first American to die for our independence?
In front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia is a statue of Crispus Attucks by Robert Beauchamps. Attucks was an escaped slave who led protesters against British troops in Boston.

Source: Bach. Public Art in Philadelphia. 1992, p.44.
20.  At the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia, what neoclassical work was exhibited by Edmonia Lewis, the first female sculptor of African and Native American descent in America?
Edmonia Lewis's statue "The Dying Cleopatra" was exhibited and lauded for its humanistic realism.

Source: Public Art in Philadelphia, 1992, p.49, Penny Balkin Bach, 709.7481 B122P