Residents Aim to Ensure Kennett Square’s Critical Role in the Underground Railroad Is Not Forgotten

underground railroad
Image via Billy Penn.
The Longwood Meeting House is said to have hosted Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman, among others.

Many Kennett Square residents want to make sure that the town’s critical role in the history of the Underground Railroad is not forgotten, writes Asha Prihar for Billy Penn. 

“Not just the mushrooms, not just the festivals, but the history that’s been here way before that even came about,” said Rev. Beverly G. Bell, the pastor at New Garden Memorial UAME. 

Kennett Square’s proximity to both the Maryland and Delaware borders, states that both allowed slavery through 1860, made it a crucial stopover for escaped slaves looking for freedom. 

“We were the people that sent them to Philadelphia,” said historian Christopher Densmore. “So we were the boundary between freedom and slavery.” 

Another key factor was the abolitionist Quaker population in the area in the 19th century, who were more accepting of Black people. Black residents were also a significant force in Kennett Square at the time. 

“There were Black people who owned their own homes, owned their own businesses, and therefore that made Kennett Square attractive, because Black people were accepting freedom seekers and helping them along,” said Terrence Maguire, president of the Kennett Underground Railroad Center. 

Read more about Kennett Square at Billy Penn

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