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Free Frank: New Philadelphia, Illinois STAMP
Petition Background (Preamble):
Dr. Juliet Elise Kirkpatrick Walker, Founder and Executive Director of the Free Frank New Philadelphia Historic Preservation Foundation (the "Foundation") and the Foundation's advisory committee to promote the Free Frank and New Philadelphia Illinois Commemorative Stamp projects, has officially launched the petition campaigns. The petitions are necessary to garnish enough support to convince the United States Postal Service Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee that the issuance of a commemorative Free Frank and New Philadelphia Illinois stamps is necessary to recognize this extraordinary African-American and the historic event of the town founding in America's history.
Dr. Juliet E.K. Walker and the Foundation Stamp Advisory Committee, is recommending that United States Postage Stamps be issued in honor of Free Frank McWorter (1777-1854) and New Philadelphia, Illinois. The slave-born Free Frank holds the historic distinction of being the first African American town founder. In 1836, he legally platted the frontier town of New Philadelphia, Illinois which in August became the 1st black town to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also, over a period of 40 years, with profits generated from various enterprises, as both a slave and free black pioneer entrepreneur, Free Frank purchased 16 family members, including himself, from slavery. The total cost, $15,000, adjusting for inflation and the devaluation of the dollar, today, would be $250,000.
Free Frank's life history is found in a carefully researched book, by Dr. Juliet E.K.Walker, Free Frank's great great granddaughter which provides the only documented study of Free Frank's economic life and his town of New Philadelphia- Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1983, 1995), In 1988 Dr. Walker had the gravesite of her great great grandfather placed in the National Register of Historic Places, one of only three Illinois gravesites listed in the National Register. The other two are President Abraham Lincoln and Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas.
According to Dr. Walker the selection of Free Frank and New Philadelphia Illinois to appear on a United States Postal Stamp is imperative because it preserves in our nation's history the life and accomplishments of a great American and a great African-American. Free Frank's life epitomized the basic core values that we all share as Americans, to be free and the pursuit of life liberty and happiness. This recognition is long overdue."
We the undersigned request that a commemorative stamp be issued in honor of the founding of New Philadelphia, Illinois, the first town to be founded by an African-American placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Help us celebrate this historic event.
The Free Frank: New Philadelphia, Illinois STAMP petition to Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee was written by James Walker and is in the category Education at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: frank, philadelphia, illinois, historic, stamp, walker, american, foundation, advisory, committee, juliet, african, national, commemorative, register, places, black, history, states, postal, stamps, united, placed, campaign