Mapping the Institute Community
Use the interactive map below to explore important landmarks in the African American community in Philadelphia during the Civil War. In addition to schools, churches, and meeting places, we used city directories to identify the addresses of Institute graduates in the year they graduated, when available.
Much of the Institute community was centered in and around the 7th Ward of Philadelphia. The map below illustrates what the neighborhood looked like in 1865, just as the Institute for Colored Youth was preparing to move to a new, larger location.
Barnes Map of Philadelphia, 1865, Free Library of Philadelphia
1. First Institute for Colored Youth (716-718 Lombard Street)
Opened in 1852, this site served as the facility for the Institute for Colored Youth until moving in 1866.
2. Second Institute for Colored Youth (915 Shippen Street)
After an extensive fundraising campaign, the Managers opened a new facility for the Institute for Colored Youth in March 1866. The new building held twice as many students and had amenities such as a lecture hall and chemistry laboratory.
3. Site of the Catto Murder (822 South Street)
This is the approximate site where on October 10, 1871, Octavius Catto was murdered during Election Day riots.
4. Office of The Christian Recorder (619 Pine Street)
This newspaper, printed by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, served as a leading voice for the Philadelphia African American community.
5. National Hall (1226 Market Street)
National Hall played host to many political meetings and rallies during the Civil War era, including the July 6, 1863 rally for African American enlistment into the Union Army.
6. Cordelia Jennings Home and School (1022 South Street)
After graduating from the Institute for Colored Youth, Cordelia Jennings opened a private school in her home, where it remained until moving to Ohio Street in 1864.
7. Octavius V. Catto School (Lombard Street above Twentieth Street)
Caroline LeCount’s Ohio Street School moved to this new site in 1878, where the school was renamed in honor of Octavius Catto.
8. Concert Hall (Chestnut and Thirteenth Streets)
Concert Hall was a popular venue for both musical and political events during the Civil War era.
9. Lombard Street School (Sixth and Lombard Streets)
The Lombard Street School was one of the few public schools open to African Americans before the Civil War. Its first teacher, James M. Bird, was devoted to the education of African Americans, a rare case in the city’s segregated schools. After he was transferred to a white school in 1833, the African American community had to fight to keep the school open as attendance declined.
10. African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas (5th and Adelphi Streets)
After splitting with the congregation of the segregated St. George’s Church (and then amicably with the congregation who formed Mother Bethel) Rev. Absalom Jones, the first African American Episcopal priest in the nation, opened a church here in 1794. During the Civil War era, St. Thomas’s was the church of many Institute graduates, and like Mother Bethel was a centerpiece of the African American community.
11. Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (419 South 6th Street)
After splitting with the congregation of the segregated St. George’s Church (and then amicably with the congregation who formed St. Thomas’s), Rev. Richard Allen founded Mother Bethel in 1794. Mother Bethel was the church of many Institute graduates, and like St. Thomas’s was a centerpiece of the African American community in the city.
12. Ohio Street School (Ohio Street)
After achieving public school status, Cordelia Jennings moved her school to a building on Ohio Street, where it remained from 1864 until 1878. Caroline LeCount took over as Principal when Jennings left in 1867.
13. White Office (717 Lombard Street)
Jacob C. White, Sr. used this office for his business involving the Lebanon Cemetery. His son, Jacob C. White, Jr. also used the office for business including the Philadelphia Pythians.