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Take a Walking Tour Through Historic West Chester

Local authors and historians will give a tour of West Chester's historically black neighborhood.

A free walking tour and book signing about  West Chester’s “East End,” a historic African-American community  will be held Saturday, May 12 at the Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center located at 501 E. Miner Street, West Chester. 

The book signing begins at 11 a.m. followed by a walking tour at 12 noon.    Tours are about an hour long and will cover 34 sites in a neighborhood extending from East Market Street to East Barnard Streets, an area that once included the West Chester train station and “Hoopes” Spokes Works.

The walking tour is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Please email to  rsvp@chestercohistorical.org or  call 610-692-4800 ChesterCoHistorical.org

The tour features Bayard Rustin sites and historically black-owned businesses and landmarks. The tour was developed by Sarah Welsey and Catherine Quillman, the co-authors of Walking the East End: A Historic African-American Community in West Chester, Pennsylvania.    The tour also ties with a special exhibit on Bayard Rustin, one of the civil rights movement’s greatest heroes and a native of West Chester, now on view at the Chester County Historical Society.

The walking tours will be held until 3 p.m.   If you can’t make the tour, stop by pick up a signed book. They will be sold throughout the day. Orders at a 10 percent discount will also be taken.

The book is a self-guided walking tour illustrated with numerous photographs, many of them offering a rare glimpse into the 19th-century lives of early black entrepreneurs. The book includes a map featuring three walking tours: the “East End,” a tour of early industries, and an “Uptown” tour featuring sites related to early black businesses as well as Irish and women’s history.

The book also documents the Civil Rights era: Bayard Rustin, famous as the chief tactician of nonviolent action and the organizer of the March of 1963, was born and raised in the East End.

A Walking Tour of West Chester’s “East End.”

When:Saturday, May 12th, from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

Where: Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center located at 501 E. Miner Street, West Chester. 

Features: The Rustin exhibit and one on the Underground Railroad can be seen at the Chester County Historical Society (225 N. High Street, West Chester, PA 19380). This exhibit  is currently open now and will occur Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call 610-692-4800.

Free but please reserve your place.  Email   rsvp@chestercohistorical.org or  call 610-692-4800 ChesterCoHistorical.org

Save the Date: Saturday, May 19 ~ The “Brother Outsider” documentary showing and discussion panel (RSVP required), at the Chester County Historical Society.

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