September 26, 2014
IT TOOK documentarian Ken Burns more than 11 hours to document the devastation of the Civil War. It took the creators of "The Civil War - The Musical" about a fifth of that time to convey with equal power and intensity, the story of the defining episode in our nation's history. There is much to praise about the production at Hammonton's Eagle Theatre, which runs through Oct. 5, beginning with the surprisingly solid and affecting score, which defies major expectations. Going in, the idea of recounting such a brutal and universally destructive event via contemporary musical formats, including rock and country, seemed frivolous and lightweight at best, trivializing and disrespectful at worst.
September 25, 2014 |
THERE ARE some questions that seniors in high school should never have to ask. Questions that are deep, philosophical and largely unanswerable. Queries that can, if you let them, stunt your growth, stifle your ambition or paralyze your progression. However, for Haverford School senior running back and linebacker Phil Poquie, a single question and all its permutations, weigh heavily on his mind, but also spur him toward success. When civil war erupted in his native Liberia, Poquie was just 2 years old. His family fled to the United States, sent for by a grandfather who lived in Staten Island, N.Y., to begin life anew, rich with possibilities.
August 31, 2014 |
The worn, leather-bound diaries, each about the size of a smartphone, reveal a voice rarely found in print. In them, Emilie Davis, a young housekeeper and seamstress, chronicles her life as a free black woman in Philadelphia during the Civil War. "To day has bin a memorable day and i thank god i have bin sperd to see it," Davis wrote in an entry dated Jan. 1, 1863, the day the Emancipation Proclamation became official. It is the first sentence in a series that fills three pocket diaries, recounting Davis' life from 1863 to 1865.
July 24, 2014 |
Almost a century ago, a pair of clever British writers published a send-up of history-as-memory titled 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, Comprising All the Parts You Can Remember , Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings, and 2 Genuine Dates . Since then, I'm sorry to report, things have gone precipitously downhill. We remember nothing. History is only what we know, or sort of know, perhaps imparted to us in movies, legal tender, and Fat Albert cartoons.
July 17, 2014 |
TO AFRICAN grocery store owner Musa Kromah, who immigrated to the United States 11 years ago to escape civil war in his native Liberia, Philadelphia is "well-known" back in his home country. In fact, he said, "all Liberians" have family members in the city. Greater Philadelphia has the largest Liberian population of any U.S. metro area, according to a November 2008 report from the Brookings Institute think tank. Recent U.S. Census Bureau five-year estimates put the number of people of Liberian ancestry in Philadelphia at 3,769, though community leaders estimate that the numbers are over 5,000.
July 2, 2014 |
GETTYSBURG - For almost a century, the small, historic stone house on Chambersburg Road has been obscured by the commercial buildings surrounding it. But in 1863, it occupied a prominent position at the epicenter of fighting on Day One of the nation's best-known Civil War battle. That night, it would be seized and used as the headquarters of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. On Tuesday - exactly 151 years after the start of the Battle of Gettysburg - the Civil War Trust will announce the purchase of the four-acre parcel and the restoration of the site to the way it looked in 1863.
June 24, 2014 |
OVER 1,000 images were recently digitized into the Philadelphia Library Company's African Americana online collection, serving as a window into black history in Philadelphia and beyond. The African Americana database is the end result of a project that was "20 years in the making," one that will give anyone with an Internet connection access to these cultural relics, said Prints Department Associate Curator Erika Piola. The Philadelphia Library Company has been collecting images since its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, and scholars began collecting photographs, political cartoons and drawings for its African Americana collection in the late 1960s.
May 28, 2014 |
SEN. MITCH McConnell's easy victory over his tea-party opponent in Kentucky's Republican primary presents a tidy story line: The establishment strikes back. In the primary season so far, McConnell and fellow GOP incumbents have successfully out-organized and outspent such challengers from their right. And yet, even as they rack up wins, they are revealing how the tea party already won the battle for influence in the Republican Party. The GOP's civil war now looks more like a merger: The establishment has moved right, and many of the tea party's voters are rejoining/reconciling with that new mainstream - even if some of their self-appointed leaders are not. Things looked vastly different when these Senate campaigns began and tea-party groups, such as FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservatives Fund, audaciously announced their plan to unseat McConnell, the Senate Republican leader.
May 25, 2014 |
ANDERSONVILLE, Ga. - While doing honor to nearly 13,000 fellow soldiers, a Connecticut man became one of the biggest whistle-blowers of his era. For his efforts he was hounded by the Army, court-martialed, and sentenced to hard labor for allegedly stealing a government document. His crime sounds as if it could be ripped from today's headlines, but it actually occurred at the close of the Civil War in 1865. The whistle-blower was Dorence Atwater, a Union soldier who had been captured at age 19 and sent to the infamous prisoner-of-war camp near Andersonville.
May 24, 2014 |
The Silent Sentry has returned to duty, just in time for Memorial Day. After a strange 121-year odyssey that took it from a Yeadon/Southwest Philadelphia cemetery to a Camden scrapyard and Chester foundry, the 700-pound bronze statue of a Union soldier is again standing tall over the graves of Civil War veterans. It will be rededicated at noon on Sunday at Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls. The unveiling will be part of ceremonies marking Memorial Day, an observance with Civil War origins that was first officially held in Philadelphia at Laurel Hill on May 30, 1868.