Protect Eden's Legacy and African American Memory

TEAM FUNDRAISER  

The Board of Eden Cemetery Company is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Historic Eden Cemetery , 1434 Springfield Rd. Collingdale PA 19023. Donations are tax deductible.

Founded at the height of Jim Crow, six years after Plessy v. Ferguson, Eden Cemetery is Philadelphia's African American answer to a burial crisis created in the community, due to segregation, vandalism, public works projects, condemnation, and closure of earlier Black cemeteries. Today, Eden is an exceptional monument to the national African American Civil Rights story and to Philadelphia's 7th Ward, whose many residents are buried there. The lives of those interred span from 1721 to the present, making it the oldest continuously operating African American cemetery in the North.

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The Ask: To Protect and Preserve Historic Eden Cemetery’s Archival Legacy 

Eden is raising $75,000 toward the conservation, digitization, and preservation of our records. These records, of exceptional value to the site, are a bedrock for research and interpretation of important stories of national and local African American history and cultural heritage. Protecting these historical records “keeps the lived stories of people and communities from vanishing” and preserves legacy for future generations. This ask is part of our $250,000 Phase One fundraising effort for archival preservation. 

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The Archives:
Eden Cemetery’s archives include the records of dislocated 18th and 19th century African American burial grounds and of those buried at this fifty-three acre historic site since 1902. Eden continues to provide stewardship and to be a repository for the memory of over 90,000 African Americans and countless notables including Marian Anderson, Octavius Valentine Catto, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, William Still, and George Henry White.

"Unforgettable", a video featuring Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., from Ancestry.com


Keeping the records safe and ready for public use:

Decades of use and storage in imperfect conditions have taken their toll on these important documents. Protecting these records means getting them into safe housing and secure storage. Preserving the records requires stabilization and conservation so they can continue to be used without risk of further damage. In the longer term, it means having them digitized, transcribed, and entered into a records management system. This will ensure accessibility, encourage discovery, and engage the public in the use of these unique resources.

About Eden Cemetery :
Having a dignified place for burial was a long-standing challenge to African Americans due to racism, but by the end of the 19th Century the situation grew even more dire in Philadelphia with the closures of Lebanon and Olive cemeteries and the enactment of municipal ordinances that in effect prohibited the creation of new African American cemeteries within City limits. Opened in 1902, Eden represented African American agency to address these problems by establishing a new cemetery in suburban Delaware County on fifty-three acres that were part of Bartram Farm, and a "collection cemetery" for dislocated earlier black cemeteries. This move was not fraught without challenges. The Delaware County community protested against its opening with a court injunction. When a compromise was finally reached, Eden was able to have its first burial on August 14, 1902.  The cemetery quickly became a beacon of community pride and representation of African American heritage through the designation of its cemetery sections. An example of this is the John Brown section, which became the chosen resting place for many United States Colored Troops and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who viewed John Brown as an important friend and hero.  Today, Historic Eden Cemetery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a part of the National Park Service Underground Railroad to Freedom Network and is a member of the Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds.

"Parallel Lives In the Fight for Suffrage: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Mary Grew" a Virtual Tour created by Historic Eden Cemetery and The Woodlands. Take the tour here.

History of the Project:
Eden’s Archival Project began in 2015 with a Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories Study conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  Additional support has been provided by grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania State Archives, and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.  Since then, we have been working to further the preservation of these important archives.

Phase One Needs Include:

Fireproof Storage - $20,000

Archival Services and Supplies - $15,000

Part Time Project Archivist - $40,000

All money raised by our first GoFundMe will go to Eden’s Archival Project. With fees included, we are setting the GoFundMe goal at $75,000.

For over one hundred years, Historic Eden has been protecting and preserving legacy and memory.  Your help is needed in continuing this work.
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 23 d
  • Ife Changa 
    • $25 
    • 24 d
  • Lyle Rawlins 
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • James TerBush 
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • Steven Peitzman 
    • $200 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer

Eden Cemetery 
Organizer
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