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 ©2016 PhillyCAM – Philadelphia Community Access Media

Scribe's Precious Places Comes to PhillyCAM

Precious Places Logo

Scribe's Precious Places premieres on PhillyCAM in March and will air for the next 26 weeks Sundays at noon and repeat Mondays at 7pm.

A community oral history project inviting members of Philadelphia's many neighborhoods to document the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks and other sites that hold the memories of our communities and define where we live. Unlike oral history projects in other cities, Precious Places teaches the video production process to participating groups, fostering projects authored by those who intimately know the featured neighborhoods.

The Precious Places Community History Project brings together neighborhood groups, independent videographers affiliated with Scribe, and humanities scholars to understand how the history of specific sites in the Philadelphia region have defined neighborhoods and affected the lives of local residents.

Many of this year’s projects focus on communities formed during the first Great Migration (1916-1934), the mass movement of African-Americans from the southern states to the north.   

Produced by: Scribe Video Center

Sundays at noon and Mondays at 7pm

The Precious Places Community History Project has been supported by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Union Benevolent Association and the Djerassi Foundation.

  • Belmont Grove - Reclaiming Coaquannock by Ollin Yolitzli Calmecac (Fairmount Park)

    For many Philadelphians, the presence of indigenous cultures appears only in street signs, statues, and museums. This film tells the story of how Belmont Plateau served as a powerful gathering space for indigenous communities for over a decade, and what losing that space meant for them. 

  • Charles A. Tindley: Here Am I, Send Me by Charles A. Tindley Institute (South Central Philadelphia)

    Tindley Temple became a sanctuary for many African Americans who migrated to Philadelphia during The Great Migration. The story follows Reverend Charles Albert Tindley, the pastor who made Tindley Temple a haven for migrants, as he evolves from a sexton to the pastor of a church later named for him. 

  • William Penn High School: The Story of a Great School’s Promise by William Penn Development Association (Yorktown)

    William Penn High School was a source of pride for Yorktown residents, but in 2009 the School District of Philadelphia recommended its closure. Despite community resistance, the building was sold and demolished. This video documents the history of the school, the struggle of its alumni and others to maintain it as a community institution, and their hopes of eventually revitalizing the school at a new location.

  • Sun. Mar.5 at noon & Mon. Mar.6 at 7pm
  • Christian Street YMCA: Sharing Our History by Christian Street YMCA (South Central Philadelphia)

    From segregation and racism to a diversified neighborhood, the Christian Street YMCA has a rich history to share and preserve. This film explores the impact of The Great Migration through current and former members, as well as the YMCA’s continuing reputation as a safe haven for African American children and as a place for opportunity and growth for all.

  • Victory Voices: Visions Anew by St. Paul Baptist Church (West Poplar)

    This video provides a brief account of the century-plus journey of Morning Star Missions, which runs St. Paul's Baptist Church. It looks at pastors and congregants and highlights the E. Luther Cunningham Community Center (former St. Paul's Community House) as the Church's expanded home for serving the impoverished community in which it’s located.

  • Finding Home: The Ruth L. Bennett Story by Chester Housing Authority (Chester, PA)

    Finding a place to call home was essential to those leaving the Jim Crow South. For many women and children who arrived in Chester, PA, in the early 20th century, the Ruth L. Bennett Home was their first safe haven. A pioneering woman, Bennett’s life of service is explored through first person accounts, archival photos, and historical documentation.

    Sun. Mar. 12 at noon & Mon. Mar. 13 at 7pm
  • BEing from Beckett by residents and staff of Beckett Gardens/Union Housing Development Corporation (North Philly)

    This documentary is the oral history of the Beckett Gardens housing development project, located at 16th and Mater streets, in the heart of North Philadelphia. Built in 1968 after the riots, Beckett Gardens was created to house low income families. Some forty years later, it has remained a beacon hope and a village of strength for everyone who resides there.

  • Black Star Rising: The Universal Negro Improvement Association (North Philly)

    Much of UNIA’s growth in Philadelphia was due to the migration of African Americans leaving the South and attracted to the UNIA’s mission of self-determination and economic improvement.

  • John Coltrane Place: Giant Steps of Philadelphia by Members of The John Coltrane House (Strawberry Mansion)

    This film focuses on John Coltrane, the legendary jazz musicians, during his time in Philadelphia, when he laid the foundation for his revolutionary approach to music. The film explores the community’s attempts to make his former home a cultural mecca for jazz aficionados around the world.

    Sun. Mar.19 at noon & Mon. Mar.20 at 7pm
  • King's Highway Bridge, Holmesburg, Pennsylvania by Friends of Pennypack Park and Holmesburg Civic Association (Holmesburg – Northeast Philadelphia)

    A 334-year-old bridge has witnessed the Revolutionary War, the founding of Holmesburg, and countless seasons in the Pennypack Park. This film explores that significant history and what it means to the community that lives nearby. 

  • Bury Me in a Free Land: The Story of Eden Cemetery by Friends of Historic Eden Cemetery (Collingdale, Delaware County)

    Eden Cemetery is a sacred burial space for African Americans in Delaware County. This film highlights Eden's rich history, from a pauper’s grave to celebrated historic cemetery, as well its complicated relationship with neighboring residents.

  • The Philadelphia Lazaretto by the Lazaretto Preservation Association of Tinicum Township

    In this documentary, neighbors, historians and descendants of immigrants who were held at the Lazaretto in Tinicum Township in Delaware County, nearby the Philadelphia International Airport, reflect on the former hospital's years as a quarantine facility.

    Sun. Mar.26 at noon & Mon. Mar.27 at 7pm
  • Nile Swim Club

    Nestled in the small town of Yeadon, PA, outside of Philadelphia, the Nile Swim Club is the only private swim club in the U.S. owned and operated by African Americans. Over the last 50 years, the Nile Swim Club and its members have seen superstars like Harry Belafonte and The Supreme’s perform. This documentary explores that rich history as well as how the club is relevant today. 

  • High School Park by Friends of High School Park (Elkins Park)

    After a fire destroyed a former high school in Cheltenham, neighbors came together and put forth a visionary plan for the 11-acre property. They proposed to turn the site into a local park and restore its natural ecosystem. The film follows community members as they make their vision a reality. 

  • Making a Homeplace: The Historically Black Neighborhood of Swarthmore (Swarthmore, Delaware County)

    Amid the bucolic Swarthmore Borough, a community remembers the character and traditions that have shaped their neighborhood since The Great Migration.

    Sun. Apr.02 at noon & Mon. Apr.03 at 7pm
  • Brothers and Sisters: Sharing our Legacy by the Calhoun Family and Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of the Kappa

    Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc
    The house at 1007 Belmont Avenue was a cornerstone for its neighborhood and the city during fifty years of civil rights struggles.

  • La Mott Community Garden: A Very Precious Place by the La Mott Community Garden Group

    La Mott's colorful history is remembered, as neighbors fight to save their 80-year- old community garden from developers.

    Sun. Apr.9 at noon & Mon. Apr.10 at 7pm
  • Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (5th and Lehigh District).

    Embraced by Puerto Ricans and Cubans who left the gentrifying Spring Garden and Northern Liberties neighborhoods, El Centro de Oro has become the heart of Latino arts and culture in Philadelphia. By highlighting the Latino community’s sustainability and selfreliance, this video aims to confront mainstream media stereotypes through the imagery of this beloved central street.

  • From Camden to You: The Rebirth of Johnson Park by Camden United (Downtown Camden)

    pays tribute to the city’s history as a center of innovation and industry through the invention that brought Eldridge Johnson his wealth and the city this park: the Victrola. From among newly-restored statues and fountains, visitors to Johnson Park maintain that great spirits of hope and pride reside in this downtown refuge.

  • 711 by 711 Precious Places Group (Southcentral Philadelphia

    The Sydney King School of Dance was one of several neighborhood-based black dance schools founded in Philadelphia during the 1940s, 50s, and early 60s. Through interviews with King’s students, this video underscores the role the Sydney King School of Dance played in supporting its community while shaping the direction of American dance and performance.

    Sun. Apr.16 at noon & Mon. Apr.17 at 7pm
  • Standing on the Promises of God by Bethany AME Church (Northeast Philadelphia)

    150 years ago, Elias Chase, the son of two indentured servants, built in Philadelphia one of the first African Methodist Episcopal Churches in the country. Descendants of Chase and other original Bethany congregants recall scenes from the church’s past, including the disappearance of the tomb of Chase’s wife, which was excavated when the road to the Northeast Airport was widened. 

  • A Gem in Germantown by Center in the Park (Germantown)

    In 1986, a newly-formed senior center moved into the former Carnegie Public Library in Germantown. Scripted, filmed, and directed by seniors from the later-named Center in the Park, “A Gem in Germantown” is built upon the memories of residents who have used the Carnegie building throughout their entire lives. 

  • Hayti: An Oasis by Passtown Baptist Church (Coatesville, PA)

    Unlike many other African American settlements given the same name following the Civil War, Hayti, Pennsylvania and its community institutions have flourished since the 1880s. This video shows how Hayti and its Passtown Baptist Church served as an oasis for African Americans amidst the racial discrimination and violence of the past century. 

    Sun. Apr.23 at noon & Mon. Apr.24 at 7pm
  • Manayunk Canal: Past, Present, and Future by Manayunk Neighborhood Council (Manayunk)

    The now stagnant water that borders Manayunk's Main Street has shaped many neighborhood histories―the industrial development of the waterfront, the eventual flight of its factories, and the shifting character of a residential community. In a critique of a new waterfront construction on Venice Island, the video asks that Manayunk’s continued growth be respectful of the work that has been done to make the waterfront and the canal a beloved public space. 

  • The Garden of Unity: A Refuge of Peace on Chester Avenue by Southwest Community Development Corporation (Southwest Philadelphia)

    The Unity Garden engages community members of all ages to participate in maintaining its beauty: older Garden Club members praise the opportunity to work alongside younger generations of residents and youth gardeners emphasize a sense of safety and the warm respect given by their elders. “The Garden of Unity” weaves their testimonies together to illuminate a short but compassionate history.

  • The Power and the Glory of "WE" by Southwest Belmont Community Association (Southcentral Philadelphia)

    Shortly after the Civil War, a group of black women from twenty-three churches in Philadelphia convened to establish a center that could support females working for racial and gender equality. 140 years later, this video references the triumphant efforts of the SWBCA building’s founders to suggest a path through the center’s present hardships within a gentrifying community.

    Apr.30 at noon & Mon. May 1 at 7pm
  • Destined for Diversity? by First Presbyterian Church (Germantown)

    As the neighborhood around it underwent rapid demographic change, the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown reached out to new residents rather than follow affluent members to the suburbs. Through the church’s decision to stay and the debate that preceded it, this video documents a long discussion of race relations that remains alive within First Presbyterian today.

  • Wynnefield: Living America's Dream by Wynnefield Residents Association (Wynnefield)

    Ever since immigrants from Wales settled in Wynnefield in the 1690s, the neighborhood has seen over 300 years of peaceful demographic transitions. The film focuses on three landmarks that embody the neighborhood’s major changes (the Wynne House, the Har Zion Temple, and the Anderson Center), showing how residents actively and respectfully guided the community’s racial and religious transitions.

  • Awbury by the Awbury Arboretum Association (East Germantown)

    documents the Germantown arboretum’s 150- year history, from the purchase of the land by the Coate family in the 1850’s to Awbury Arboretum’s current youth programs and community gardening workshops. By revealing the similarities between past and present uses of the arboretum, the video underscores the timeless importance of green spaces in urban areas.

    Sun May 7 at noon & Mon. May 8 at 7pm
  • Neighbors and Nature in Harmony by Longford Street Residents (Northeast Philadelphia)

    Tucked away in the so-called Great Northeast of Philadelphia, Longford Street is the site of the city’s first planned integrated suburban development, designed by developer and civil rights proponent Morris Milgrim in the 1950’s. “Neighbors and Nature in Harmony” uncovers a neighborhood’s unique resistance to a segregated society through the recollections of lifelong residents of Greenbelt Knoll’s nineteen houses. 

  • Girard Estate: Ideal City Homes by Girard Estate Area Residents and Girard Estate Neighborhood Association (South Philadelphia)

    Stephen Girard, the wealthiest American citizen of his time, willed to Philadelphia his 600-acre farm on the southern most tip of the city. Within the Girard Estate neighborhood—now made up of privately-owned, tree-lined homes—proud older residents struggle to maintain their properties, while eager young families are attracted by the possibilities they see. This video illuminates the qualities of Girard Estate that every generation of residents embraces.

  • Bra Buddha Ransi Temple by Bra Buddha Ransi Temple and Khmer Buddhist Humanitarian Association (South Philadelphia)

    The Bra Buddha Ransi Temple, through a mission of cultural preservation, provides a gathering place for a large community of Cambodian-Buddhist immigrants and first-generation Cambodian-American youth in South Philadelphia. “Bra Buddha Ransi Temple” describes the ways the building supports cultural and religious education, eases feelings of isolation, and stimulates the practice of Cambodian traditions and celebrations.

    Sun May 14 at noon & Mon. May 15 at 7pm