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In the heart of Philadelphia, stands the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary building.
Founded by Quakers in 1829, this castle-like structure set new standards for prisons across the country with its progressive ideas for rehabilitation.
Recently, a group in charge of preserving this historic structure found a strange plaque discarded in a pile of rubbish. Dusting it off, they found an intriguing inscription: "In the everlasting memory of the inmates of Eastern State Penitentiary who served in World War I".
Even more intriguing is that fact that they are listed not by name, but by their prison numbers. From what they know, convicted felons were prohibited from enlisting or being drafted to fight in the war.
What's going on here? Is this an example of the prison's progressive take on prisoner reform? Or is this a sign of desperate recruiting measures for the "War to end all wars", where even prisoners are being sent into battle?
The History Detectives are on the case to get to the bottom of this mystery.
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Booth Letter Did the father of John Wilkes Booth threaten to assassinate the President?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Internment Artwork What is the story behind these watercolor paintings of a prison camp?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Mexican Currency What role did this money play in the Mexican Revolution?
- Related Investigation Rogue Book Who did this book of rogue characters belong to?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Hot Town Poster What role did this striking poster play in the explosive events of 1960s America?
- Related Investigation Cemetery Alarm Was this explosive device used to stop a morbid black market trade?
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- Latest CommentIt turns out that this collage was sold last fall: http://www.worthpoint.com/wort... I wonder if it would be possible to contact the buyer by way of the auction house about getting a print made. (6 months ago)
- Twitterremember this investigation with @TukufuZuberi @elyseluray Tonight they reunite! Let us know your thoughts! @PBS http://t.co/4KMnc27K (1 year ago)
- FacebookCongrats on your exhibit, TZ! Here's a Washington Post article about the exhibit, everyone, and the great story TZ and Elyse did on his "Our Colored Heroes" story. http://tinyurl.com/mzpuyo8 http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/our-colored-heroes/ (6 months ago)