William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Event
United States

Join us over Zoom for a discussion of the first full length biography of William Still, A Conductor on the Underground Railroad.

About this Event

"William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia" is the first major biography of the free black abolitionist William Still, who coordinated the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad and was a pillar of the entire Railroad itself. Based in Philadelphia, Still built a reputation as a courageous leader, writer, philanthropist, and guide for fugitive slaves. This monumental work details Still’s life story beginning with his parents’ escape from bondage in the early nineteenth century and continuing through his youth and adulthood as one of the nation’s most important Underground Railroad agents and, later, as an early civil rights pioneer.

Unique to this book is an accessible and detailed database of the 995 fugitives Still helped escape from the South to the North and Canada between 1853 and 1861. The database contains twenty different fields—including name, age, gender, skin color, date of escape, place of origin, mode of transportation, and literacy—and serves as a valuable aid for scholars by offering the opportunity to find new information, and therefore a new perspective, on runaway slaves who escaped on the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad. Based on Still’s own writings and a multivariate statistical analysis of the database of the runaways he assisted on their escape to freedom, the book challenges previously accepted interpretations of the Underground Railroad.

Author's Bio: William C. Kashatus holds a doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania. He curated the Chester County Historical Society's multi-media exhibition, "Just Over the Line: Chester County Pennsylvania and the Underground Railroad," winner of the American Association of Historical Societies and Museums' Award of Merit. Kashatus is the author of thirty books, including: Harriet Tubman: A Biography; In Pursuit of Freedom: Teaching the Underground Railroad; and Jackie & Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line, among others.

Event Type: 
Cultural Exchange