June 19, 2020 marks the 155-year anniversary of Juneteenth—a holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas, which effectively emancipated the last remaining enslaved people in the United States. But the vestiges of slavery continue to ripple through our country.
Like many people, my plans changed pretty drastically due to COVID-19. In March, I was entering my final semester as a graduate public history student at Villanova University. I planned on finishing my program with an internship this summer.
People from all over the world come to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. Most are excited to get a look at Al Capone’s Cell, learn about the penitentiary’s history, and gaze at the site’s impressive architecture. What they don’t expect to see is an historic mugshot of a four-legged friend.
One of the things Liz Trumbull likes best about Eastern State is the way the building itself tells visitors about its past. She says that since Eastern State is a stabilized ruin, you can “look at a wall and read what happened.
Every year for the past two decades, Eastern State Penitentiary has hosted a fascinating gathering of “alumni.” One Saturday each spring, former prisoners, guards, and staff members return to the site to share their memories of living and working behind Eastern State’s walls.
Editors’ Note: Today’s guest blogger is Taylor Bagwell, a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Taylor is double majoring in American Studies and Finance and enjoys being a sister of Alpha Delta Pi. She and her professor, Jonathan W.
For most people, December 31 is a day spent with loved ones counting down the last minutes of another year – reminiscing about days past and sharing wishes for the months ahead. Ringing in the New Year from a prison cell, like celebrating any holiday while incarcerated, is a dismal prospect.
"The whole room was suffused in the glow of a desk lamp which stood on a polished desk.... On the once-grim walls of the penal chamber hung tasteful paintings, and the strains of a waltz were being emitted by a powerful cabinet radio receiver of handsome design and fine finish..."
Everyone has a story. The stories we tell others and the stories told about us make a lasting impact. Rob Rosa, an Eastern State Board member since 2015, believes that if his story can touch even one person, then it is worth sharing.
Editors’ Note: Today’s guest blogger is Taylor Bagwell, a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Taylor is double majoring in American Studies and Finance and enjoys being a sister of Alpha Delta Pi.
Members submitted a diverse array of photographs for the annual Members Photo Contest. Visitors to Eastern State Penitentiary viewed the display of photographs all weekend-long on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 and voted for their favorite Black and White as well as Color entry.
Like hordes of other American pop culture consumers, I’m watching—and loving—the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. The show, set at a minimum security women’s prison, explores the daily struggles of a diverse cast of female inmates, as well as their keepers.