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SEPTA Unveils Historical Panels Honoring Norristown Icon Charles L. Blockson

August 25, 2022

Today, SEPTA unveiled new historical panels at Elm Street Station that pay tribute to Charles L. Blockson - a nationally recognized expert on the Underground Railroad, historian, author, and bibliophile. Elm Street Station is located in Norristown where Mr. Blockson was born and raised and to which he has dedicated his life-long civic and scholarly endeavors.

The panels celebrate his life and achievements.

They trace Mr. Blockson’s life – a journey that began in Norristown and continued through college at Penn State University, service in the United States Army, and a career in which he has become one of the preeminent historians of the Underground Railroad and chroniclers of the African American experience.

The new installation at Elm Street Station also tells the story of Norristown’s important role in the Underground Railroad and the abolition movement and continues SEPTA’s ongoing efforts to highlight the important histories and milestones of the communities it serves.

Mr. Blockson - now 88 years old - was present at the ceremony.

During the ceremony, Dr. Daisy Century delivered a historical reenactment of the life of renowned abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman - who inspired Mr. Blockson’s life work.

Local vocalist Sharon Baptiste performed several spiritual musical selections.

We invite you to see the panels at the Elm Street Station – the terminus of the Manayunk/Norristown Line and one of three SEPTA Regional Rail Stations in Norristown. Elm Street Station was upgraded with heated shelters, new fare equipment, bike racks and other passenger amenities shortly before the coronavirus pandemic.