Re/Member Black Philadelphia is a multimodal storytelling and community archiving project, which investigates increasingly endangered contexts of Black social and cultural life against the backdrop of systematic displacement in the city of Philadelphia. First and foremost, this project is an act of love for Black Philadelphia and for the many expressions of resistance to the dislocation of Black communities. First conceptualized in 2017, Re/Member Black Philadelphia utilizes digital media and technology to document and celebrate the rich experiences, institutions, spaces, and cultural practices Black people have cultivated across the city.
Black Philadelphia in our work encompassesthe memories, diverse histories, struggles, and lived experiences of the city’s Black, or African diasporic communities. In the spirit of W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Philadelphia Negro, which sought to document the “real condition” of the city’s Black population at the turn of the 20th century, Re/Member Black Philadelphia explores contemporary experiences of Black Philly and community-driven memory work that has formed amid the rising displacement of longtime Black residents and institutions.
Re/Member Black Philadelphia utilizes the tools of the digital and spatial humanities, qualitative research, and community organizing, including ethnographic and oral history techniques, geospatial mapping, filmmaking, and archiving. We amplify community perspectives and work collaboratively with local partners to ensure that community-held resources are accessible. Our collaborative research and archival practices, community engagement efforts, and digital, multimodal platforms foster community narrative-making and preservation for posterity.
Some of our current projects involve preserving the organizational memory of The MOVE Organization, documenting sites of resistance across the city with the Black Resistance Tour of Philadelphia, and supporting West Philadelphia residents in archiving their family histories through the digitization of photographs and documents. Past projects have included collecting community oral histories related to historic and cultural events such as the Odunde Festival, the 1985 Bombing of MOVE, and West Fest (the West Philadelphia High School alumni reunion).
Support community memory work and preservation practices through multimodal storytelling and community archiving.
Connect with community members in place-based inquiry and intergenerational dialogue about the histories of Philadelphia communities and recent transformations.
Curate physical and digital spaces for the public to learn from and contribute to community preservation and storytelling.