April 23, 1995 |
Police kept watch as Walter Williams made his second trip in two weeks to a funeral at Christ Community Baptist Church. Only this time, the funeral was his. Waves of grief rolled over the small, West Philadelphia church as relatives and friends mourned the 17-year-old father of two, who was gunned down in a blizzard of gunfire on April 15. The ambush by four masked men greeted Williams as he was returning to his Mantua neighborhood from...
September 5, 2014 |
The feds promised to help West Philadelphia. And now a cabinet secretary is showing up to take a look around. Julián Castro, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will tour parts of the new Promise Zone on Friday, as two local institutions commence a $4 million initiative to transform early childhood education in a troubled part of the city. The effort, led by the William Penn Foundation and Drexel University, seeks to double the number of neighborhood children in high-quality child care within three years.
May 13, 2014 |
The house is a wreck, all broken windows and boarded doors, soon to be torn down. But Annie Hunt remembers when the home was alive - a place of light and laughter, a haven for a mother and son. The West Philadelphia property belonged to a strong and determined woman, Hunt's aunt Leona Richardson. As a teenager in the late 1930s, Richardson struck out alone from the segregated South, leaving small-town Louisiana and making her way to Baltimore. When World War II broke out, she got a job in a defense plant as a welder.
January 14, 2014 |
It's a part of West Philadelphia known mostly for hardship and hard tries. The infamous Lex Street massacre occurred there, when gunmen lined up 10 people in the dining room of a crack house and opened fire, killing seven in 2000. It also was the home turf of the late, fearless antidrug activist Herman Wrice, whom President George H.W. Bush called "the John Wayne of Philadelphia. " Now, government officials and community activists say this stricken stretch of the city has a chance to become known for something else: revival.
July 18, 2014 |
IN THE WEEKS leading up to Laura Araujo's slaying, Jeremiah Jakson's life seemed to be spiraling out of control. Or he was on the cusp of greatness. It depended on the day and the hour, but it was all on display on Jakson's Facebook page, a constant barrage of selfies, street cliches and grandiose delusions. The spotlight-grabbing narcissist is the polar opposite of Araujo, 23, a shy college grad who never wanted much attention. "Im a good dude at heart but im done being a good dude," Jakson wrote on June 26. Jakson, 22, was a security guard with AlliedBarton Security Services, but was fired last month for performance reasons.
July 7, 1994 |
The Mantua Community Center is one of many that receives weekly visits from the Reading Terminal Farmers Market Trust, organized to sell fresh produce in various parts of the city. Mantua resident Herb Prince (center) helps Dorothy Baldwin pick out a melon. John Vrazo (left), represents the Trust.
August 15, 2014 |
Like every great home cook, Josephine Samuel has one legendary signature dish. "My mother showed me how to do fried chicken and how you make it taste real good," said Samuel, a Mantua resident. But, she added wistfully, "You can't eat fried chicken every night. " So, she enrolled in "Local Culinary Traditions," a new, free course offering from Drexel University's Center for Hospitality and Sports Management that invites West Philadelphia residents and any Drexel students to collaborate in documenting beloved family recipes and experimenting with making them healthier.
November 18, 1986 |
"A FUN PROTESTER" is what Kathy Chang, 36, of West Philadelphia, calls herself. The Mantua resident brought her almost-daily routine of song, dance, exercise and social awareness to Logan Square yesterday as she waved colorful flags with the messages "Peace, Liberty, Ecology, Democracy and Justice" and "Stop War, Pollution and Business as Usual. "
July 12, 1994 |
Lester E. Rambo, 63, longtime member and former president of the Clearview Regional Board of Education, died Friday at his home in Mantua. Born in Sewell, Mr. Rambo lived in Mantua for the last 42 years. He worked 21 years as an officer for the New Jersey Highway Patrol Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles until retiring in 1978. He joined the Clearview Regional Board of Education in 1972. He was elected board president in 1980 and served as president for seven consecutive years until illness forced him to step down.
June 2, 2014 |
It was a grand and glorious funeral, one that drew hundreds of people onto the streets to honor not a person but a house. There were tears, more than a couple. But also joy, and music and memories, all in celebration of 3711 Melon Street in West Philadelphia. The house began life 142 years ago as a stack of bricks and lumber, and was set to end it on Saturday as a dusty pile of the same, after a ritual demolition. The empty, abandoned home, its roof failing and back wall bulging, was the centerpiece of "Funeral for a Home," an arts project that paid tribute to one home as a way to recognize them all - in a city where demolitions have become commonplace.