By Lestey Gist, The Gist of Freedom
Underground Railroad agent, Henrietta Bowers Duterte, Philadelphia’s first female undertaker who hid freedom seekers in coffins and funeral processions to safely transport them without any detection from the bounty hunters.
Located on the former Bartram Farm on Springfield Road in Collingdale, PA the 108-year-old “Eden Memorial Park” — as the inscription over the Gothic-style gray stone gates indicates — is the oldest public African-American burial ground in the United States.
Among its famous residents are abolitionist William Still, father of the Underground Railroad, and contralto Marian Anderson, who struck a blow for civil rights when she sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 after being denied access to Constitution Hall because she was black.
“It’s safe to say that Eden Cemetery has the largest number of African-American Civil War veterans in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Eden Cemetery General Manager, Mina Cockroft, founder & president of the Friends of Historic Eden Cemetery.
Mrs. Henrietta S. Bowers-Duterte – First female Undertaker in the country & Underground Railroad agent
Marian Anderson – Renowned Opera Singer
Chris J. Perry – Founder of the Philadelphia Tribune
William and Letitia Still – Author of “The Underground Railroad”
Dr. Caroline Still-Anderson – Philadelphia’s first Black female
physician. Daughter of William and Letitia Stil
Dr. Rebecca Cole – Another female physician
John Taylor – First African-American to win an Olympic Gold Medal
Ms. Caroline Lecount- Principal of O. V. Catto School
Francis Harper – Noted Author