PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dr. Laurence Glasco, a professor of African-American history at the University of Pittsburgh is teaming up with Dollar Bank.

“Blacks originally laid the foundation for the Hill District,” Glasco said. “It was a Black entrepreneur who first laid out and planned it.”

The bank is allowing him access to documents that will hopefully increase the understanding of African Americans’ contributions in Pittsburgh.

“I was surprised at the savings account, I didn’t know about them,” he said. “I had seen no record, no reference to that in the historical literature, so this is a new, new piece of evidence.”

He mentions the records show men like Lewis Woodson and Benjamin Tucker Tanner were both leaders in the community and how Tanner’s son Henry developed into a leading painter of that era.

According to Dr. Glasco, some the most important facts that the records show is that African American families were two parent homes and that residents living in that time period were more integrated than they are today.

It also shows how they lived and what they did.

“Lewis Woodson, who was reverend, minister, the leading minister of Bethel A.M.E. Church, he opened a savings account here,” Glasco said. “He was a barber. He had a whole string of barber shops in fact … he was also the leader of the anti-slavery movement, abolitionist. A strong, abolitionist, he founded Wilbur Force University in Ohio which was the Black. It’s the oldest Black University in the country — possibly in the world.”

Anyone interested in learning how to research the records of Dollar Bank should contact the Records Management Department at 412-261-5987.


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