Event to examine local history, legacy of slavery near Penn State Abington

Abington Reckoning with Slavery Along Old York Road

A lecture named in honor of early abolitionist Benjamin Lay will be one of the featured events at the April 22 event, Reckoning with Slavery Along Old York Road. 

Credit: Abington Friends Meeting

ABINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Abington will co-sponsor of a free event on April 22 that will examine the legacy of enslavement in local communities and explore the historical efforts to end slavery in America by residents of Abington and Cheltenham townships, including early abolitionist Benjamin Lay.  

According to Shan Holt, associate teaching professor and coordinator of the public history program, the intent of the Reckoning with Slavery Along Old York Road event is to highlight the importance of learning from the past. 

“We want the next generation to understand the impact of history and then use those lessons to make better choices going forward," she said. 

During the morning session, Lucy Duncan and Rob Peagler, the co-founders of reparationWorks, will explore the contemporary power of reparations to tangibly enable healing and repair from historical white supremacy. Following a potluck lunch, the afternoon will feature a dramatic reading of the first formal slavery protest in America, "The Remonstrance Against Slavery," written by Daniel Pastorius, and the unveiling of an outdoor interpretive sign developed by Abington students that commemorates the 1688 event.  

The schedule of events for Saturday, April 22, include:

  • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. — First Annual Benjamin Lay Lecture: "Divesting From White Supremacy: Reparations as the Next Phase of Benjamin Lay's Prophetic Vision." Location: Abington Friends Meeting, 520 Meetinghouse Road, Jenkintown.
  • 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. — Potluck lunch provided by Abington Friends  
  • 2–3 p.m. — A reading of "The Remonstrance Against Slavery," by Daniel Pastorius; the unveiling of a sign commemorating the 1688 event; and dessert. Location: Richard Wall House, 1 Wall Park Drive, Elkins Park.  

Find more information and RSVP here.

This event is co-sponsored by Penn State Abington, the Cheltenham Township Historical Commission, and Abington Friends Meeting. 

About Penn State Abington 

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,100 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 25 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics and more.