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Camp William Penn

Camp William Penn is a significant site in the history of the Civil War due to the fact that more African American soldiers trained there than any other training camp. Unfortunately, not much of the site remains. Situated in Cheltenham PA, what was formerly the largest training camp for black troops, is now about half a dozen urban blocks in north Philadelphia. Currently, the Camp William Penn Museum, in conjunction with Historic LaMott, is working to stimulate interest in the former site of the camp. They are determined to preserve not only what remains of the camp, but also the stories of Cheltenham Township throughout its history.

The purpose of these materials is to educate students about the significance of Camp William Penn, historic LaMott, and black history in Philadelphia. Students will learn not only about the camp, but also about those who fought for African American rights in Pennsylvania and across the nation during the War. Students will take from these lessons a greater understanding of slavery, abolition, and the Civil War as well as learn to appreciate the history near their homes and in their neighborhoods.


19th century


African American


Civil War




Big Ideas

US History

Essential Questions

What role does analysis have in historical construction?

Why is time and space important to the study of history?

Background Material for Teacher

End of Unit Assessment

Have students choose a landmark or historic site near their home and write a brief history about it to share with the class. Students should explain the sites historical significance and their reasoning for choosing it.


Plans in this Unit

Establishing Camp William Penn

Life at Camp William Penn

Letters from the Field

Grade Level

High School

Standards/Eligible Content

8.2.9-12 B

8.2.9-12 D

About the Author

Blake McGready with Dr. Judith Giesberg, Villanova University

Adapted for HSP's website by Education Manager Alicia Parks

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