City designates African American burial ground under Penn parking lot as historic

Map from University Archives and Record Center

Last winter, a more than 150 year old African American burial ground was discovered lying underneath a Penn parking lot. Now, the city—with Penn’s support—is taking action to protect it. 

In a unanimous vote on Nov. 9, the Philadelphia Historical Commission officially designated the African Friends to Harmony Burial Ground underneath Penn’s 4111-23 Chestnut parking lot as a Historic Place. Any plans to renovate the lot must now receive approval from the Commission. 

The portion of the burial ground not underneath the parking lot—namely the approximate quarter a Philadelphia business is developing into a new apartment building—was not included in the designation. 

According to the…

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