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Independence Hall.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States and the largest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, both in area and population. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County. Philadelphia has the second-largest downtown residential population in the U.S., behind New York, just edging out Chicago. The Philadelphia metropolitan area is the fourth-largest in the U.S. by the official definition, with some 6.9 million people. Philadelphia is the central city of the Delaware Valley metropolitan area.

Philadelphia is one of the oldest and most historically significant U.S. cities. It was the nation's first capital. At the time of the American Revolution, it was the second-largest English-speaking city in the world, after only London. Into the first part of the 19th century, it was the country's most populous city and eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance. Benjamin Franklin played an extraordinary role in Philadelphia's rise.

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"Runaway Advertisement," The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 24, 1796.
Photo credit: The Pennsylvania Gazette

Oney Judge was a slave at George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. A servant in Washington's presidential households beginning in 1789, she escaped to freedom from the Philadelphia President's House on Saturday, May 21, 1796, and defied his attempts to recapture her. More is known about her than any other Mount Vernon slave because she was twice interviewed by abolitionist newspapers in the 1840s. The Pennsylvania Gazette ran this "runaway" advertisement on May 24, 1796.

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Independence Hall in 1855.

The history of Philadelphia goes back to its founding in 1682 by William Penn. The area had earlier been inhabited by the Lenape (Delaware) Indians and European settlers who first arrived in the area in the early 1600s. Philadelphia quickly grew into an important colonial city and during the American Revolution was the site of the First and Second Continental Congresses. After the Revolution the city served as the temporary capital of the United States. At the beginning of the 19th century, the federal and state governments left Philadelphia, but the city was still the cultural and financial center of the country. Philadelphia became one of the first industrial centers in the United States, and the city contained a variety of industries, the largest being textiles. After the American Civil War, Philadelphia's government was controlled by an increasingly corrupt Republican political machine and by the beginning of the 20th century the city was described as "corrupt and contented." Various reform efforts slowly changed city government with the most significant in 1950 when a new city charter strengthened the position of mayor and weakened the Philadelphia City Council. At the same time Philadelphia moved its support from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, which has since created a strong organization. The city's population began to decline in the 1950s as mostly white and middle-class families left for the suburbs. Many of Philadelphia's houses were in poor condition and lacked proper facilities, and gang and mafia warfare plagued the city. Revitalization and gentrification of certain neighborhoods started bringing people back to the city. Promotions and incentives in the 1990s and the early 21st century have improved the city's image and created a condominium boom in Center City and the surrounding areas that has slowed the population decline.

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Clifford Scott Green

Clifford Scott Green was a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Green was the eighteenth African American Article III judge appointed in the United States, and the second African American judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. During his 36 years on the federal bench Judge Green presided over a number of notable cases, including Bolden v. Pennsylvania State Police, and was regarded as one of the most popular judges in the district. Green was the first recipient of the NAACP's William H. Hastie award in 1985 and was awarded the Spirit of Excellence award by the American Bar Association in 2002. The Philadelphia chapter of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association is named in Judge Green's honor. He was a lifetime trustee of Temple University, and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Philadelphia State Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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"...there is probably no city in the known world where dislike, amounting to the hatred of the coloured population, prevails more than in the city of brotherly love!"

Joseph Sturge

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