On Thursday, March 24, Arcadia University will celebrate the life of Cremona Morrey, a legendary resident of the Cheltenham area. The special event begins at 7 p.m. with a screening of the 25-minute WHYY documentary The Montiers: An American Story in Grey Towers Castle Korman Mirror Room. This will be followed by a panel discussion led by Arcadia University students, including WHYY’s documentary producer Karen Smyles, Montier and Morrey family historian Joyce Mosley, and a presentation by the University’s L.O.V.E. Pilot ARTcadia working group to elevate Morrey’s legacy.
The exhibit, which opens at noon Monday, March 21, features student-made artwork, music celebrating women’s history and liberation, and interactive elements such as a selfie contest and prizes. At the exhibit, held in commemoration of Women’s History Month, attendees can vote for their favorite piece of artwork; winners will be featured on Arcadia University’s social media pages and win a prize presented on March 24.
Born Cremona Satterthwaite in 1710, Cremona Morrey was an 18th-century Lenape/Black woman who was formerly enslaved on the Cheltenham estate of Philadelphia’s first mayor, Humphrey Morrey (appointed in 1691 by William Penn). After his death in 1716, Morrey’s son, Richard Morrey, freed the people his family had enslaved. He entered into a relationship with Cremona, who took his last name. While the nature of their relationship is not fully clear, the couple had five interracial children during the 1730s and 1740s, and she was willed the land by Richard Morrey. This land would become one of the first black towns in America -- and, later, the town of Glenside, Pennsylvania, where Arcadia University resides. Cremona Morrey’s legacy, and that of her descendants, would also include iconic historical figures such as the Bustills and Paul Robeson, the great Black scholar, actor, athlete, and activist, say several sources.
The events celebrating Morrey are sponsored by the Office of Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OAEDI); the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring; and the Office of Marketing and Communications.