SOLD OUT | “A Slave for Life If I So Chuse”: Abolition and Slavery in Lancaster County

SOLD OUT | “A Slave for Life If I So Chuse”: Abolition and Slavery in Lancaster County


At this time, this event has reached capacity and is sold out.
Thank you very much for your interest and support of LancasterHistory!

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, Cory James Young will join LancasterHistory for a special Black History Month lecture on Pennsylvania’s gradual emancipation and the common misconceptions on northern slavery. For event details and how to register, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Cory James Young

In 1780, Pennsylvania became the first state to enact gradual emancipation. The statues, while no doubt revolutionary, were deliberately limited in scope and aimed more at curtailing the expansion of slavery than eliminating it. As late as 1857, Lancaster newspapers still reported enslaved people living in Lancaster County. In his talk, Cory James Young will examine some common misconceptions about northern slavery and gradual abolition, as well as share the stories of several remarkable Pennsylvanians, black and white.

Cory James Young is a History Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University. He received his M.A. at Georgetown and B.A. at SUNY Geneseo. His research interests include abolition, slavery, and migration in the northern United States. Young’s dissertation, “For Life or Otherwise: Abolition and Slavery in South Central Pennsylvania, 1780-1847,” examines how slaveholding and enslaved residents of the Cumberland Valley refashioned bondage in response to gradual abolition laws. He also helped launch The Activist History Review and can be followed on Twitter @coryjamesyoung.


A casual reception will begin at 4pm on Thursday, February 27 at LancasterHistory, 230 N. President Ave., Lancaster. The main presentation will begin at 4:30pm in Ryder Hall.

The program is free and open to the public but requires advance registration to guarantee a seat at the presentation. Register online by clicking “Get Tickets” below or by calling (717) 392-4633. Questions and accessibility requests may be directed to or (717) 392-4633. Ticketholders should bring a paper printout of their tickets or be able to display their tickets on a cellphone or other internet-enabled device to check-in to the lecture.

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Lecture Reception

February 27, 2020 Ryder Hall at LancasterHistory, 230 N. President Avenue 4pm Reception | 4:30pm Main Presentation FREE | Registration Required To Guarantee Seat