William Still, a free-born Black, became an abolitionist movement leader and writer during the antebellum period in American history. He was also one of the most successful Black businessmen in the history of the City of Philadelphia. . . .
William Still’s Major Accomplishments
During a period in American history where laws were established prohibiting Blacks, and especially enslaved Africans, to read and to write, one of William Still’s major accomplishments was teaching himself how to read and write. Still had little formal education but read everything available to him and studied grammar. This act of learning became a form of African resistance to slavery. . . .
William Still is best known for his self-published book The Underground Railroad (1872) where he documented the stories of formerly enslaved Africans who gained their freedom by escaping bondage. Still’s The Underground Railroad is the only first person account of Black activities on the Underground Railroad written and self-published by an African American. . . .
Why William Still’s Collection is of National Significance
The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection houses William Still Papers dating from 1865 through 1899. The papers contain 140 letters pertaining to Still’s family matters as well as 14 photographs. . . .
William Still was a major contributor to the success of the Underground Railroad activities in Philadelphia and a part of Philadelphia’s free Black community that played an essential role in the Underground Railroad. He personally provided room and board for many Africans who escaped slavery and stopped in Philadelphia on their way to Canada. Through his work with the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery’s Vigilance Committee, he raised funds to assist runaways and arrange their passage to the North. He was instrumental in financing several of Harriet Tubman’s trips to the South to liberate enslaved Africans. His book The Underground Railroad is known worldwide. . . . read article in its entirety >> http://stillfamily.library.temple.edu/historical-perspective/william-still-significance