William Penn is a Philadelphia treasure and Bob Gleason’s portrayal helps us realize that without Penn there would not be a town in which Benjamin Franklin is famous. Born an unusual fellow to well-connected British parents, Penn sat inside and read books. His was a very different lifestyle from his partying mother and his sea-faring admiral father. Traveling to Ireland and then to France, Penn hears a Quaker preach and, quite literally, a light went on for the young man. Less than pleased by their son’s new faith and advocacy, Penn refused to compromise his beliefs: he was willing to be disinherited, even to go to jail. After the Admiral’s death, Penn inherited land in what came to be known as “Pennsylvania,” traveling to his new property and dedicating his land and his life to the creation of a Utopia. And Penn advertised all over Europe for like-minded peace-seeking settlers willing to go to Pennsylvania as part of his Noble Experiment.
William Penn set the precedent for tolerance, equality, and for using financial resources to create true and lasting value. Penn codified his plans for the Pennsylvania Charter of Liberties, which presaged the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which is why the United Nations celebrates its anniversary on Penn’s birthday on October 14th. Penn worked hard to create good relationships with Native Americans, learning their language(s) and sometimes paying for land several times to several tribes claiming “ownership.” Penn’s wife, Hannah Callowhill, was an able businessperson, who stepped in as unofficial Pennsylvania Governor from the time Penn suffered a stroke until Penn’s death.
Consider Bob Gleason’s William Penn for all Green events, for urban planning events (“greene country town”), for events whose goal is peace and harmony