No Struggle, No Progress: Black Politics in Twentieth-Century Philadelphia

This seminar features cutting edge scholars drawing on their contributions to If There Is No Struggle There is No Progress: Black Politics in Twentieth-Century Philadelphia. This publication offers the first in-depth historical analysis of African American politics in Philadelphia throughout the twentieth century. The speakers’ presentations will bring together fresh insights on the intersection of race, gender, class, and politics in the making of Philadelphia’s Black community today.

Activism throughout the twentieth century made Philadelphia a crucial site for the development of Black politics across the nation, positioning the city in the same class as Chicago and New York. For over a century, politically active Philadelphians endured police abuse, pushed education reform, challenged job and housing discrimination, and elected presidents to the White House. Black activists consistently displayed creativity, tenacity, and discipline to challenge and often rise above difficult circumstances.

This is a hybrid program. Registrants are invited to attend onsite at 1300 Locust Street or virtually via Zoom.

The Speakers:

James Wolfinger is Dean of the School of Education at St. John’s University and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of History. Dr. Wolfinger wrote the introduction and edited If There Is No Struggle There is No Progress: Black Politics in Twentieth-Century Philadelphia.

David Canton is Director of the African American Studies Program and Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida. Dr. Canton authored the chapter, “Building Black Philadelphia.”

Stanley Arnold is Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University. Dr. Arnold authored the chapter, “The Great Depression and World War II.”

Abigail Perkiss is Associate Professor of History at Kean University. Dr. Perkiss authored the chapter, “Postwar Philadelphia.”

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, founded in 1824, is one of the nation’s largest archives of historical documents. We are proud to serve as Philadelphia’s Library of American History, with over 21 million manuscripts, books, and graphic images encompassing centuries of US history. Through educator workshops, research opportunities, public programs, and lectures throughout the year, we strive to make history relevant and exhilarating to all. For more information, visit


Feb 07 2023


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm



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Historical Society of Pennsylvania


Historical Society of Pennsylvania
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