Amelia Brown was likely a member of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, the oldest African-American church in the country. At the time, the late 18th century, cemeteries in Philadelphia would not accept black people.
Also at the time, the property near Fourth and Queen streets was not within Philadelphia city limits, so Mother Bethel A.M.E. bought it as a private cemetery in 1810 and used it as such until 1864.
Then the property languished, was abandoned, was used as a dump. In 1888, the property was sold to the city to pay for a new church that’s still in use today. The site lay vacant a few more years until the city developed a playground on it.
Story: Peter Crimmins, Newsworks.org | Photo: Emma Lee, Newsworks.org