Understanding Slavery & its Impact 

The History of Slavery and Discrimination 1619-1970

This seminar series presented by Gibbel Kraybill & Hess attorneys J. Dwight Yoderand Sheila O’Rourke in collaboration with Reverend Edward M. Bailey of Bethel AME Church has been exploring the legal and historical context of slavery and racial discrimination in the United States.

Slavery for Life or Otherwise: South Central PA’s Enslaved and Slaveholding Families in the Age of Gradual Abolition, 1780-1847

The dissertation examines how white and black families navigated a changing world after the state assembly enacted the nation’s first gradual abolition law during the Revolutionary War. It emphasizes the fact that there is a troubling history of slavery in Cumberland County that occurred between the sunnier events of emancipation and county participation in the underground railroad.


The Society was organized in 2005 as an affiliate of the Crispus Attucks Center of Lancaster, with the mission to collect, analyze, and interpret basic information about the life of African Americans in the South Central region of the Commonwealth.

The Society now operates independently.


Post Office Box 4022

Lancaster, PA 17604-4022



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