Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2020 Sophia Stills. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Farid Azfar

Second Advisor

Robert Weinberg


In 2002, historical research revealed that Philadelphia’s new Liberty Bell Pavilion was to be built at the former location of President George Washington’s Philadelphia home—a site where America’s first President held nine slaves in bondage through a legal loophole. A public controversy soon erupted over the paradoxical coexistence of liberty and slavery during America’s founding, the importance of recognizing slavery’s centrality in American history, and the inclusion of Black Americans within the country’s commemorative landscape. The controversy ultimately illustrates the contested nature of slavery’s legacy and the challenges inherent in public memory construction.

Included in

History Commons