Glen Foerd-Holy Family University Speaker Series to Feature Andrew Diemer, Author of 'Vigilance: The Life of William Still, Father of the Underground Railroad'
Holy Family University and Glen Foerd on the Delaware will co-host a Speaker Series event featuring Andrew Diemer, associate professor of history at Towson University and author of 'Vigilance: The Life of William Still, Father of the Underground Railroad' (Knopf, 2022).
The live event will be held on Thursday, April 13, at 7 p.m. EDT in the Education and Technology Center Auditorium of Holy Family University (9801 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19114). The event is free and open to the public. The talk will be simulcast via Zoom. Register for the Zoom webinar here.
William Still was born free in New Jersey in 1821 to parents who had escaped from slavery. Moving to Philadelphia in 1844, he was hired by the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society; eventually, he became head of its Vigilance Committee that aided escaped slaves. Still documented the stories of the men, women, and children that he assisted in their transit to freedom in hopes of eventually reuniting them with family and friends. Once, while listening to the story of an escaped slave named Peter, Still recognized that this was his own brother, whom he had never before met, and whom his mother had had to leave behind when she had fled from slavery with her daughters. Among the other people Still assisted to freedom were the parents of Harriet Tubman, and Ellen and William Craft, who disguised themselves as a young white man and his slave in order to free themselves. Still published the valuable account of his work in 1872. Still also invested in coal and real estate during the Civil War, and left at his death a fortune worth between $100,000 and $1 million.
The lecture is part of the Glen Foerd-Holy Family University Speaker Series that showcases topics of area cultural and historical interest. All lectures are free and open to the public. Copies of Vigilance will be available for purchase and signing at the event.