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Modern Voices
Jeffrey Leath on Philadelphia
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Q: Describe the city of Philadelphia during the Federalist period.
Jeffrey Leath

A: Philadelphia was the center of the nation. Philadelphia was not only the place where the government was in formation, and things were hustling and bustling because the Continental Congress was in session, and the Constitution was soon to be completed, and you have notable persons, George Washington, popping in and out of town -- but it was also a place of great commerce.

It was a place were immigrants were coming and settling. So it was a place of many cultures, many languages. One of the reasons Richard Allen is such a prominent figure is because he was in Philadelphia, and since the eyes of the nation were on Philadelphia, the eyes of the nation were on Richard Allen. There were other black preachers in other cities. They did not rise to the same level of prominence, in large measure because it just wasn't Philadelphia.

Reverend Dr. Jeffrey N. Leath
Pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church

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