march, 2021

25mar6:00 pm7:30 pmDriving While Black with Gretchen Sorin6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Event Details

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Membership Libraries Group presents

Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights with Gretchen Sorin

This event is free and open to all. Reservations are required; register through Eventbrite to reserve your spot. 

Membership with Mechanics’ Hall is free for students and starts at just $50 a year for individual memberships, which includes use of the library, free and discounted access to programs, and much more. Consider becoming a member today and help support programs like this.

For African Americans the automobile provided personal freedom and independence in a nation with segregated public transportation. But even in their own cars mobility was restricted for black drivers. In a story that reaches back to the time of slavery, when mobility was denied, Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights explores one of the most pressing racial issues of our time, while it explores the way that the automobile profoundly changed the lives of black Americans. This talk holds an urgent and powerful message for American society today – at once revelatory and deeply troubling as it reveals a story of human courage, creativity, and commitment to change – it provides a crucial window on discrimination, civil rights, and national identity. And, we see how black mobility is tied to the history of black entrepreneurship and American democracy.

Gretchen Sullivan Sorin is Director and Distinguished Service Professor at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a training program for museum curators, educators, and directors that is part of the State University of New York College at Oneonta. She is also a Fellow of the New York Academy of historians.


(Thursday) 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

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