New Philadelphia, Illinois, to become a unit of the National Park Service

Dec 29, 2022Congress has passed and President Biden has signed a 4,155-page Omnibus Bill (HR 2617) containing four pages that establish the New Philadelphia National Historic Site.  A national park site will commemorate and contribute to our nation’s march toward freedom. It is a tribute to the legacy of Free Frank and Free Lucy McWorter and their family and community, and all who kept and enriched the memory: local activists and community members, descendants, archeologists and historians, elected officials and many more. Thank you for all your support as we worked towards this long-held goal.

See the New Philadelphia story in the Chicago Public School curriculummedia outlets near and farone of Gerald and Kate McWorter’s talks. Use the green bar above to explore further or send email to

Founded in 1836 by Frank McWorter, New Philadelphia was the first town legally founded, platted and registered by an African American in the United States. Over time he purchased 16 family members out of slavery. Many African Americans and European Americans living at New Philadelphia helped freedom seekers get North. Click “donate” below to celebrate this event and advance our mission—Thank you!