Jewish Camden Partnership and The Parkside Business and Community with Scribe Video Center
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.2 compilation DVD.
Predominantly Jewish from the early 1900s, the Parkside neighborhood of Camden, New Jersey changed rapidly into an African American community during the 1960s as its former residents moved to the suburbs. Parkside: A Camden Neighborhood is an ethnic history of the area told in the voices of both groups. But while they have raised families in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools and, in some cases, purchased the same homes, current and former residents inherited a different Parkside. Delores Showell, an African American woman who moved to Parkside in 1960 was initially attracted to the neighborhood by its proximity to good schools and clean parks. Although Parkside is still a nice place to raise a family, deindustrialization and white flight significantly undermined the neighborhood. "I didn't have to worry that the streets were going to be cleaned from the snow," says Showell. "I didn't have to call for my trash to be picked up." Gene Bass, a Jewish former Parkside resident, remembers that real estate agents were known to prey on the fears of white homeowners, telling them that a black family was about to move in next door and encouraging them to sell while they could. Parkside, however, remains a vital community. Although it lacks the funding and infrastructural support that it used to receive, the neighborhood's new residents have infused it with the same sense of community that its former neighbors enjoyed.
Odunde with Scribe Video Center
Videomaking Consultant - Tina Morton; Humanities Consultant - Jeff Maskovsky, Post Production - Tina Morton
Once “South Philly,” the area along South Street is now “Center City.” As longtime residents around the 2100 block can attest, gentrification has besieged this close-knit neighborhood that is regionally famous for Odunde, an annual African street festival. South Street is located just blocks from Center City's skyscrapers, and with real estate values rising, longtime residents in this neighborhood increasingly face displacement as the borders of Center City march ever southward. It is not the first time that the specter of displacement has arisen here: as residents remember, the Crosstown Expressway threatened thousands of homes in the area until the 1970s. The Taking of South Central...Philadelphia consciously places South Street's predicament in a national context. "Gentrification is like an epidemic," says the narrator. "People are being displaced from Harlem, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit... where will working class people live?" The video features longtime residents such as Odunde founder Lois A Fernandez, and Lilly Gertrude Capps Venning-Dickerson, known locally as "Miss Buzzy," a 102-year resident of the neighborhood. With the community changing around them, neighbors are increasingly contemplating the future of this vital section of the city that to them will always be South Philadelphia.
The Still Standing Project with Scribe Video Center
Production Facilitator - Iain Conliffe; Humanities Consultant - Biko Agonzino; Post Production - Brain Cook
Before artist and community historian Beverly Collins-Roberts set to work researching the topic, few living people knew that Pomona Hall in Camden, New Jersey, now the headquarters of the Camden Historical Society, had been the "big house" of an 18th century slave plantation. Owned by Marmaduke Cooper, Camden's founder, the plantation spanned 400 acres and covered much of what is now the Parkside neighborhood of Camden. Unhushed! portrays a "purification ceremony" in the house's attic quarters performed by community educators, activists and musicians to free the spirits of 14 enslaved Africans who worked on the plantation. After smudging the house with incense, five women dressed in white slowly ascend creaking stairs into the attic, followed by men playing long hollow instruments called vaccines: members of the local Black Beans traditional music group. Then the ceremony commences. Beverly Collins-Roberts believes that meaningful acknowledgement of the institution of slavery is a necessary step in the process of allowing healing to begin for all people. "This is America's story. You can't talk about America without talking about slavery."
Frankford Group Ministry with Scribe Video Center
Videomaking Consultant - Carla Lyndale Carter, Humanities Consultant - Rona Buchalter, Post Production - Carla Lyndale Carter
Frankford, one of the oldest communities in the county that came to be called Philadelphia, has a rich legacy of involvement in the Underground Railroad. Located just above the Mason-Dixon line, Pennsylvania—and Philadelphia in particular—was a major hub of anti-slavery activity. An 1830 Black political convention in Philadelphia to protest and organize against slavery encouraged abolitionists to use churches as sanctuaries for fugitive slaves. Next Stop: Freedom was shot by a group of Philadelphia high school students. They focus on Campbell A.M.E. Church of Frankford, the first black congregation it the area, which partnered with Quakers to assist enslaved people seeking freedom. The student's documentary captures the oral histories of church elders: much of the institutional knowledge about Campbell A.M.E.'s involvement in the Underground Railroad has been passed down this way, from clerk to clerk. "It's really important for grandparents to pass this information on to their children," says church member Connie Whitmore, “so we'll all know our history." Next Stop: Freedom is an effective translation of these vital oral histories onto video, and a valuable exploration of the historical ties of Frankford area churches to the Underground Railroad and the struggle against slavery.
Pan African Studies Community Education Program [PASCEP] and Scribe Video Center
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History compilation DVD
PASCEP is a 32-year-old, all volunteer education and outreach program that was created out of struggles in 1970s to make Temple University more responsive to the African American community in North Philadelphia where the University is based. Their video is a celebration of the history and the influence of this institution has had and all the incredible artists and educators who have come through PASCEP's doors.
PASCEP is the Pan African Studies Community Education Program. To access information about classes and other PASCEP activities, you can visit their web address at: http://www.temple.edu/pascep/