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Synopsis

New Philadelphia, Illinois, was founded in 1836 by Frank McWorter, a Kentucky slave who purchased his own freedom and then acquired land on the prairie for establishing a new—and integrated—community. McWorter sold property to other freed slaves and to whites, and used the proceeds to buy his family out of slavery. The town population reached 160, but declined when the railroad bypassed it. By 1940 New Philadelphia had virtually disappeared from the landscape. In this book, Paul A. Shackel resurrects McWorter’s great achievement of self-determinism, independence, and the will to exist. Shackel describes a cooperative effort by two universities, the state museum, the New Philadelphia Association, and numerous descendents to explore the history and archaeology of this unusual multi-racial community.

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