THE FIGHT FOR BLACK MOBILITY: TRAVELING TO MID-CENTURY CONVENTIONS
Mrs. L. Reddon specifically welcomed delegates as boarders at her home, which is across the street from Mother Bethel Church. Mrs. L. Reddon’s engagement in political activism is not limited to hosting convention goers. In 1865, she served as president of the Ladies’ Sanitary Association of St. Thomas’ African Episcopal Church (LSASTC). She is a member of Philadelphia’s African American elite. Along with the wives of Samuel Van Brackle, Stephen Smith, and Ulysses Vidal, Mrs. L. Reddon raised funds to aid African American soldiers in the Civil War.
Charles Jones advertised heavily in Frederick Douglass’ Paper and put emphasis on North Star House’s central and convenient location. Apart from being a boarding house host, Charles Jones is also a dedicated writer and reader. He was a devoted supporter of the Philadelphia Library Company for Colored Persons, which met at St. Thomas’ African Episcopal Church nearby. In the company of John C. Bowers, William Price, and others, Jones celebrated the Company’s 27th anniversary (in 1861) by reading his self-composed poetry and prose. A year later, he would read his essay with Isaiah Wears to begin a debate session.
Ann Turner operated a boarding house in Pine Ward. Records show that in 1850, Ann Turner lived with her husband, Alexander Turner, and two children, Charles and Clementina. Alexander Turner passed away in 1856, leaving Ann to run the business by herself.
William Still and Letitia George Still opened their home as a boarding house in 1855; some of their boarders included Mary Ann Shadd Cary and William Wells Brown. At the same time, Still was working with Purvis and Harriet Tubman in aiding the escape of fugitives, using the same home to harbor runaways. Still decided to record their harrowing experiences after a fateful encounter with a fugitive who turned out to be his brother. The Stills were devoted to philanthropy and would frequent The Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, which was located nearby their home.
Still’s coal and ice yards produced a lot of wealth, enabling the Stills to contribute handsomely to the Home and also to educate all of their four children. Their eldest child, Caroline Virginia Matilda Still eventually became a doctor. William Wilberforce Still practiced law, Robert George Still a journalist and printer, and Frances Ellen Still a teacher. William Wilberforce and Frances Ellen would share their parents’ home on South St. below Ninth. Still died in the same home in 1902.