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Imagine Philadelphia in 1793. The growing city had a population of 50,000 of which around 2,000 were black Philadelphians, 310 of whom were enslaved. The city was the center of government, trade, science, and medicine. The country was still trying to find its footing; the U.S. Constitution was signed only six years prior in 1787. Then, tragedy strikes as yellow fever breaks out in 1793, killing 5,000 people, 10% of Philadelphia’s population.

 

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