Pennsylvania Hall, 1838
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Two images of Pennsylvania Hall. The top image is of the building before destruction and the bottom image is of destruction of Pennsylvania Hall.

Credit: Library Company of Philadelphia

By the 1830s, most Pennsylvanians had turned away from the opposition to slavery that in 1780 had made the Commonwealth the first state in the nation to pass an abolition law. In 1838 to provide a place where they could meet in public, Philadelphia abolitionists constructed Pennsylvania Hall. Three days after it opened a large mob, infuriated by the mingling of blacks and white during the Anti-Slavery Convention of American women, burned it to the ground. Later that year the state legislature revoked African Americans right to vote. James Forten would die four years later, in 1842.

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