Pittsburgh has a rich legacy of African-American achievements, and greats such as the late playwright August Wilson and singer/guitarist George Benson are just part of the finely woven tapestry of culture that this city has helped to create.
While many people are aware of the predominance of African-Americans in Penn Hills and other neighborhoods, one doesn’t often think of the North Hills as a place where many blacks settled. But there are a few such places in the North Hills.
In Sewickley, known for its blueblood, old school families, a longstanding African-American community stays strong to this day. Sewickley was actually a stop on the Underground Railroad, and many notable black Pittsburghers have come from Sewickley. Eight men from the community went to the Tuskegee Institute, and five made it to pilot.
This proud local history has its guardians. About 60 active members of the Daniel B. Mathews Historical Society still watch over and sometimes uncover aspects of their collective history. The African-American historical group was named for Daniel B. Mathews, who was the founder of Sewickley’s 148-year-old St. Mathews AME Zion Church.
A little further south in the North Hills, a small group of Pittsburgh African-Americans found their resting place. Thankfully, the almost forgotten black cemetery soon will be refurbished.