Help us grow! During the summer of 2012, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia seeks volunteer authors to contribute essays related to the themes of City of Neighborhoods, the Cradle of Liberty, and the Workshop of the World. Prospective authors must have expertise in their chosen subjects demonstrated by previous publications and/or advanced training in historical research. For further information, visit our list of available topics.
This week our Children’s Television essay is featured by Rutgers Media Relations in a news release by Ed Moorehouse. The article calls attention to the Rutgers-Camden connections of the two authors, Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic of the Robeson Library and the Ph.D. program in Childhood Studies, and Brandi Scardilli, who earned her M.A. from the Rutgers-Camden Department of History. In the interview, the essay authors also comment on children’s television programming today. Update: Listen to Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic discuss her research on WHYY-FM, broadcast May 9, 2012.
While so many this week are remembering the Titanic on the 100th anniversary of that epic disaster, WHYY turned its attention to “epic failures” in Philadelphia’s history. We helped by putting reporter Peter Crimmins in touch with Michael Zuckerman, the author of our “City of Firsts” essay, and our associate editor Stephanie Wolf. Their insights into such memorable events as the Bicentennial and Sesquicentennial were featured along with others’ comments about the Tram to Nowhere, the MOVE bombing, and other “epic failures.” What would you add? Visit Newsworks to join the discussion. (And keep coming back to the Encyclopedia – we will add essays on the Sesquicentennial and Centennial celebrations this summer.)
We were so grateful and impressed by your expressions of support for our application in the Knight News Challenge. We have learned that our proposal will not be advancing to the next round of the competition — in all, more than 1,100 applications were submitted and all but 51 were eliminated in the first round of screening. Although we are disappointed, we are glad for the positive developments that emerged from our collective effort. We have attracted new, enthusiastic potential partners for the future, and we have more than 200 followers for the @Backgrounders Twitter feed that we started for connecting history with the news. We will continue to use this to serve the public and add value to the Encyclopedia project. To follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Backgrounders. To see the projects advancing to further consideration in the Knight News Challenge, and comments about the selection process, follow this link: .
This week’s news presented an ideal opportunity to connect history with the news, using our Backgrounders feed on Twitter to reach journalists and other interested readers. When WHYY posted its report that Autumn Adkins Graves, the president of Girard College, will step down at the end of the school year, we added background with our Girard College essay as well as a link to Temple University’s outstanding “Civil Rights in a Northern City” project. These resources, combined with the news account, call attention to the significance of the service of President Graves as the first female and African American head of this landmark Philadelphia institution.
Albert Lee, one of the discussion facilitators at our recent “City of Neighborhoods, City of Homes” roundtable program, provides this account of his group’s conversation:
Make no mistake. Philadelphians are passionate. Whether it’s sports, food, or where they live, you know what they’re thinking at all times. Call it a blessing or a curse, but it’s nothing if not honest.
For the last program in the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable Series, the topic was Philadelphia: City of Neighborhoods, City of Homes.
Here is a sample of where people call home and why:
“I lived in Mayfair until I was 21. I have since moved to University City near the University of Pennsylvania. I loved NE Philly. I loved the family atmosphere and being able to converse with neighbors on our stoops. Here at U City, there are lots of students. It feels like an extension of Center City. You can get access to all kinds of cuisine. There is so much diversity and everything is at your fingertips. In Northeast Philly, everything was a little homogeneous with many moving to the suburbs. “
“I moved from the Northeast to Wissahickon and just absolutely love all the green and easy access to public transit.”
“I’ve lived in Rittenhouse for 25-30 years. I’m not a native, but my family is from here. It’s close to everything. I work in Center City. I don’t have or need a car. I just walk everywhere. I love it.”
“We’re from Minnesota and used to live in an all-white area. We have lived here for four years in Brewerytown. We wanted an adventure and we got it. Culturally, it’s an edgy place since it’s going through some big changes. We see our building as a tight-knit community because everyone is from someplace else. We have that as a bond. We’ve tried to communicate with the home-grown folks as well, a.k.a. the locals. In fact, we’ve signed another lease for three more years.”
“I grew up in Torresdale. I used to take the 66 Bus and the El everywhere. When I lived there, it wasn’t too diverse. It’s still a bit homogeneous but I’ve seen some positive change and it’s only going to get better.
“I was born in New York and lived in North Jersey. I chose to live in Philly and called Rittenhouse home since the 80s. Rittenhouse Square is such a hodgepodge. From the blue-haired ladies to the young mothers, to the artists, people talking to themselves and just the whatever – It’s all races, all economic backgrounds, it’s my favorite spot in the city.
“I don’t live in Philly but plan on moving back. My family moved here in 1955 and lived in Society Hill. In 1960, they moved to the Northeast. Everything was beginning to develop. Folks didn’t have a car until 1962. I remember taking the bus to Drexel. It’s a great city.
Thanks to Al and to all of our volunteers for making the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable series such a great success.
Building on the widespread interest in our recent “City of Neighborhoods, City of Homes” program at the Philadelphia History Museum, we’re pleased to call the following opportunity to your attention:
The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent has reopened with a new exhibition concept, a community history gallery featuring exhibitions designed and curated by neighborhood organizations about the work they do and the contributions they have made to the fabric of life in the city. One goal of this new exhibition gallery concept is to give Philadelphians an active voice in presenting the city’s history based upon historical, social, cultural, intellectual, or political concepts. The Philadelphia Voices Gallery will present three compelling exhibitions each year that give voice to the ways that Philadelphia’s community and neighborhood based organizations address issues including hunger, violence, homelessness, discrimination, housing, education, immigration, health, environment, and work.
For information on how to participate in this exciting opportunity, visit this web page:
When we asked our friends and partners to support us in the Knight News Challenge, you responded – thank you! Our online “likes” doubled in just two days, and we concluded the competition period with 194 “likes” and 92 comments on our proposal. While the competition urged us to focus on the quantity of participation, we are especially pleased by the quality of the online discussion, which demonstrated support while also posing good questions and offering additional ideas. The winners of this funding from the Knight Foundation will be announced in June.
We had another full house this week to conclude the current series of the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable. If you missed it, you can read JoAnn Greco’s coverage in PlanPhilly, and we will soon post a written summary and audio recording of the discussion. Our thanks to everyone who supported and participated in our year-long series of explorations of Philadelphia’s famous phrases, from the City of Brotherly Love to City of Neighborhoods. Watch for announcements of future programs.
We’re so pleased that the Encyclopedia project has sparked a series of extraordinary workshops for Philadelphia-area educators. Please add these to your calendar and register now:
- City of Neighborhoods, April 17, 4-6:30 p.m., a free workshop at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent. Click here for more information and registration.
- A Summer Teacher Institute! During July, the Encyclopedia team together with our education consortium of civic partners, will offer “Philadelphia for Teachers,” a week-long institute for graduate credit. In addition to an immersion in Philadelphia history, teachers will have the opportunity to research and write their own Encyclopedia-style essays, which may be considered for publication. Click here for more information and registration. Download a flyer for posting (PDF): Click here.
These opportunities are created by our education consortium, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, the National Archives in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, and Independence National Historical Park. Thank you very much!