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lfish1@uis.edu

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Excavation of New Philadelphia site is topic of discussion at UIS

March 31, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - “Archaeological Investigation of New Philadelphia: A 19th Century Racially Integrated Community in Pike County, Illinois” will be the topic of a presentation by Dr. Terrance Martin at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 7, in room 339 of Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The program is free and open to the public.

Martin is curator of anthropology at the Illinois State Museum. He will discuss the upcoming excavation project at the site of New Philadelphia, the first village in the United States incorporated by a black man.

Founded in 1836 by former slave Francis “Free Frank” McWorter, New Philadelphia was an active, integrated town through the Civil War era.  It began to decline in 1871, however, when a railroad was routed a half mile away, helping the nearby village of Barry to flourish instead.

Archaeologists from the Illinois State Museum, University of Maryland, and University of Illinois are currently working with Pike County residents to investigate and preserve this historic site in a project funded through a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. The program provides paid opportunities for undergraduates to learn archaeological field and laboratory methods while participating in all phases of a research project. Emphasis of the work at New Philadelphia is on understanding racism and the African-American experience on the Illinois frontier.

For more information, contact Lynn Fisher, UIS assistant professor of anthropology, at 206-7938.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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