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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Sorrow and Joy

 
 
Sorrow and Joy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
1. Sorrow and Joy Marker
Inscription. Until the 19th century this was often a sorrowful place. Many people knew it as a potters field, a "publick burying place for all strangers," for soldiers, sailors, convicts, and the "destitute whose remains are walked over." A lonely Acadian refugee found eternal rest here, along with epidemic victims, Catholics, and African Americans.
Only free and enslaved African Americans brought a measure of mirth to this Square which, according to oral tradition, they called "Congo Square." One 19th century historian recorded that during fairs and holidays perhaps as many as a thousand Black Philadelphians came here to dance "after the manner of their several nations in Africa, speaking and singing in their native dialects...over the sleeping dust below." He also wrote of those from Guinea (a term once used to encompass several African areas) "going to the graves of their friends early in the morning, and there leaving them victuals and rum."
 
Location. 39° 56.848′ N, 75° 9.095′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from Walnut and 6th Streets. Click for map. Marker is on the left of the path from the northeast entrance to the center of Washington Square Park. Marker is in this post office area: Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Drawing on the Sorrow and Joy marker. image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
2. Drawing on the Sorrow and Joy marker.
Philadelphia supported a thriving African American community that celebrated its heritage in festivities in Washington Square.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Linked in Memory (here, next to this marker); Congregation of the Dead (here, next to this marker); Tom Foglietta (here, next to this marker); Penn's Plan (a few steps from this marker); The Capital City (a few steps from this marker); A Fashionable Promenade (a few steps from this marker); Washington Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Bicentennial Moon Tree (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Other Washington Square markers.
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesEntertainmentMilitary
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 901 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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