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Independence Blue Cross presents Age Fearless with One Day University in West Philly

Thursday, September 22 2022 8:30 am - 1:00 pm


9:30 am - 10:30 am
Richard Allen: The Black Founding Father Every American Should Know
Richard Newman / Rochester Institute of Technology

The Black Founding Father

Richard Allen (1760-1831) was perhaps the most important Black activist in early American history — a precursor to more familiar civil rights leaders like Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. Every American should know his story.

History of Richard Allen – The Black Founding Father

Born into slavery, Allen bought his own freedom in Delaware during the American Revolutionary era and then founded one of the first Black churches in the fledgling United States. He helped lead the first sit-in against racial injustice at a segregated church in Philadelphia and co-authored one of the first antislavery essays by an African American writer soon after the formation of the Constitution. Allen eulogized George Washington and challenged all Americans to not only end slavery, but treat African Americans as equal citizens. Without his early activism, the long civil rights struggle in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries would have been very different indeed. In many ways, Richard Allen is America’s Black founding father.

Learn More About The Life of Richard Allen

This lecture will examine Richard Allen’s amazing life and times by focusing on key aspects of his civil rights activism between the 1780s and 1830s. Allen was not the only Black activist of this era, but his unyielding focus on Black liberty made Allen the most significant African American reformer of his time. By understanding Allen’s role in the earliest American civil rights movement, we can better appreciate the ongoing struggle for justice in the 21st century.

Richard Newman / Rochester Institute of Technology

Richard Newman is a professor of American history at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has appeared on PBS, NPR, and C-SPAN, and is the author or editor of seven books about American and African American history, including Love Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present, and Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers.


10:45 am - 11:45 am
From Selfish Beginnings: Tracing the Evolutionary Origins of Human Cooperation
Coren Apicella / University of Pennsylvania

Humanity’s history is remarkably short. Imagine a 100,000-page volume dedicated to the history of the earth. Humans would only make their appearance on the very last page. But what a jaw dropping and triumphant last page that would be. It would include a list of assaults that humanity has faced and overcome – wars, disease, famines, and natural disasters. It would include a spectacularly long list of unparalleled achievements and discoveries­ – the printing press, walking on the moon, the internet, antibiotics, and more. And, finally, it would include a staggering exponential rise in human population growth and the spread of humans all across the globe. By almost all accounts the human story is a success story. But this story would not have been possible without cooperation. When we cooperate with others in the pursuit of shared goals, we can achieve remarkable things that no single individual could accomplish on their own.


Humans cooperate to a greater degree and in larger groups than most other animals. But, how did we become such a cooperative species? This course begins by outlining the uniqueness of human cooperation. It then discusses why the evolution of human cooperation has been called one of biology’s great mysteries. Finally, it introduces various explanations for understanding how cooperation evolved in humans and evaluates each of the explanations using data from current hunter-gatherers.

Coren Apicella / University of Pennsylvania

Coren Apicella is an associate professor of psychology and director of the Human Behavior and Origins Laboratory (HBO lab) at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research investigates how biology and culture work jointly, and separately, to shape individual and social behavior, from mate choice to cooperation, to competition. In addition to more conventional laboratory studies, a significant portion of her time is devoted to fieldwork with the Hadza, a population of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Aristotle, Plato and Socrates: What Can We Learn from Ancient Philosophers?
Bryan Van Norden / Vassar College

After years of war and a pandemic, government seems near collapse in the leading democracy in the West. Sound familiar? This is Athens in the time of Socrates.  Socrates’ relentless questioning of authority annoyed so many people in Athens that they sentenced him to death. But Socrates also inspired Plato to become a philosopher. Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle, but Aristotle disagreed with Plato about almost everything.  In this class, Professor Van Norden explains what this trio can teach us about living well and solving the problems of a democracy in crisis.

Bryan Van Norden / Vassar College

Bryan Van Norden is James Monroe Taylor Professor in Philosophy at Vassar College, and Chair Professor in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships, Van Norden has been honored as one of “The Best 300 Professors in the U.S.” by The Princeton Review.


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Harrison Auditorium at Penn Museum
3260 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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