The Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund (FCNL Education Fund) Board has decided to change the name of William Penn House (WPH) in recognition that William Penn owned slaves at his Pennsbury estate in Bucks County, Pa., when he lived there in 1699–1701.
“We are renaming WPH now because FCNL is committed to becoming anti-racist in all aspects of the organization,” explained Jonathan Brown, clerk of the FCNL Finance Committee and clerk of the ad hoc committee considering the property name change. “Events of the last year, including the murder of George Floyd, have helped to raise our consciousness about how much more we need to do to make sure that everyone feels welcomed to participate in FCNL’s work.”
The ad hoc committee will be seeking a new name for the property this spring.
William Penn House, located just five blocks east of the U.S. Capitol, was founded in 1966. The FCNL Education Fund assumed control of William Penn House in September 2019 and has undertaken significant renovations to the building. The FCNL Education Fund hopes to reopen the building later in 2021 for experiential education and advocacy engagement, dependent upon COVID-19 restrictions.