Friends Center

The Race Street meetinghouse at Friends Center in Philadelphia hosted a dedication on March 23 of an official state historical marker commemorating Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (1842-1932). (The marker itself is installed at 1342 Arch Street.) The event was organized by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Friends Select School in honor of Women’s History Month. According to the organizers, Dickinson was born into a Quaker family and attended Friends Select School and Westtown School. Dickinson was an abolitionist from an early age and had her first essay published in William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator when she was only 13. According to the organizers, “Dickinson became a nationally famous orator, speaking out for the rights of women, workers, and African Americans. In 1864, the 21-year-old Dickinson was the first woman to address the U.S. Congress, a speech attended by President Abraham Lincoln.” The event also marked the first major public collaboration between Friends Center and Friends Select School since the latter bought 1520 Race Street from Friends Center in 2021. The school is currently renovating the structure into a new building for its upper school STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts, math). The school plans to open the STEAM building at the start of the 2022-23 school year.

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