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New Philadelphia, Illinois, was founded in 1836 by Frank McWorter, a Kentucky slave who purchased his own freedom and then acquired land on the prairie for establishing a new—and integrated—community. McWorter sold property to other freed slaves and to whites, and used the proceeds to buy his family out of slavery. The town population reached 160, but declined when the railroad bypassed it. By 1940 New Philadelphia had virtually disappeared from the landscape. In this book, Paul A. Shackel resurrects McWorter’s great achievement of self-determinism, independence, and the will to exist. Shackel describes a cooperative effort by two universities, the state museum, the New Philadelphia Association, and numerous descendents to explore the history and archaeology of this unusual multi-racial community.
List of Figures and Tables
1. The Settlement of New Philadelphia
2. Expansion and Decline
3. It Was Never Lost
4. From Grass Roots to a National Movement
5. The First Field Season
6. Race and the Illusion of Harmony
7. The Apple Festival and National Significance
8. Family Reunion and Division
9. Three Generations of Building and One Hundred Years of Living in New Philadelphia
10. A Case for Landmark Status
11. Some Thoughts, but Not the Final Word
Paul A. Shackel is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Maryland. He is the author and editor of many books, including Archaeology as a Tool of Civic Engagement (with Barbara Little).
“This book would be ideal for introductory archaeology collections or upper-level historical archaeology, and would make an interesting addition for historians. . . Highly recommended.”—Choice
“An important work for historians or those interested in how we remember our past.”—Journal Of Illinois State Historical Society
"A groundbreaking study in which an engaged archaeology produces nuanced understandings of the past and shapes new understandings of the present. New Philadelphia
promotes a rethinking of race relations between African and European Americans."—Claire Smith, President, World Archaeological Congress
"Shackel shows in explicit detail how one community archaeology project—dealing with the delicate subject of race—is being put into practice in the American Midwest. This is required reading for archaeologists and historic preservation activists who confront bondage and freedom, and who wrestle with remembrance and representation in real time."—Charles Orser, author of Race and Practice in Archaeological Interpretation
examines an historic struggle for social justice and the role for archaeology in anti-racist projects. Shackel's engaging narrative shifts among artifacts, landscapes, and documents to illuminate the lives of African Americans and European Americans in a 19th- and early 20th-century community. This is an important book for archaeologists, historians, and cultural heritage practitioners interested in recovering the past to address pressing issues of the present."—Robert Paynter, co-editor of Lines that Divide
and co-director of archaeological research at the W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite