August 13, 2016
ISSUE | SLAVERY A link to ancestors When we think of America's slaves, we usually imagine abused Africans and their descendants toiling on a Southern plantation - not in Philadelphia. A few blocks from Independence Hall, slaves disembarked from ships and were brought to the London Coffee House near Front and Market Streets in the mid-1700s to be sold at auction. Last week at Penn's Landing, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission added a marker recognizing the city's role in the importing and selling of these slaves.
May 30, 2016 |
The first job of any remake is to justify itself. Why do we need a new version of Roots , the beloved 1977 ABC mini-series whose finale more than 100 million people watched and whose most recent rerun - in high-definition on TV One - was only last fall? Because the world has changed enough in 39 years to justify more sophisticated writing and better production values, but not enough to make Roots any less relevant. Our understanding of the history underlying Roots has changed, too, though not in ways that hurt the History Channel's four-night version, which premieres at 9 p.m. Memorial Day and will be simulcast on A&E and Lifetime.
March 26, 2016 |
Where to begin? A knockout production of An Octoroon , by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed mightily by Joanna Settle, has just opened at the Wilma Theater. Well, it's not exactly by Jacobs-Jenkins, but rather radically reimagined and adapted from a 19th-century melodrama by Dion Boucicault called The Octoroon . So this is a contemporary play - note the An in the title rather than The - about theater history. Boucicault's play is about slaves on a plantation in the Deep South - this is Tara territory - and is thus about racial injustice (radical in itself, since the original play predates the Emancipation Proclamation)
February 18, 2016 |
Stoutsburg Cemetery - in Skillman, N.J., at the heel of the Sourland Mountains - has long served as an African American burial ground. Like many such places, it holds much unspoken history. Two trustees of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association are unraveling those secrets - the stories behind unmarked slave graves around the cemetery - for a book to be published next year. Purchased in 1858 for people of color, Stoutsburg became the final resting place for local residents, including veterans of conflicts dating to the American Revolution.
February 18, 2016 |
For African American families searching for their genealogical history, the 1870 census has been both a beacon illuminating the past and a dead end. It was the first time that former slaves were listed as individuals in the government population count. Before then, records were scant and scattered. The three Graham siblings of Chester - Chrishon, 19; Antoine, 17; and Al'lyssa, 15 - are among thousands of volunteers nationwide working to unearth elusive clues that will allow millions of families to trace their ancestors back through Reconstruction and into slavery.
February 14, 2016 |
At first she didn't want to be a prostitute. Living on her own after running away from a Frankford group home, the 13-year-old didn't need the money when she first hit the streets. She bounced from house to house in the summer, sometimes sleeping in the back of a neighborhood store. But life got harder in the winter. She needed cash and a more permanent place to live. So she called a pimp - and her whole life seemed to collapse. "I felt like a slave," she said Friday, her voice a monotone.
January 10, 2016 |
A 42-year-old Bucks County man faces charges of soliciting sex with a minor after allegedly traveling to meet with a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office said Friday. David Chandler of Telford was arrested Wednesday after sending explicit messages online indicating he wanted a "sex slave," authorities said. Posing as a 13-year-old girl, an agent within the Attorney General's Office responded to a Craigslist advertisement Chandler allegedly posted seeking sex. The two communicated for more than a month, court records show, during which Chandler requested repeatedly for the pair to meet as he used his girlfriend's computer to communicate.
January 6, 2016 |
Last season, ABC proved it could outmatch FX and HBO when it came to the anthology drama, with the superb first season of American Crime . The second season premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday. Unlike HBO's True Detective , which reached dizzying heights of sublimity in its freshman year only to crash and burn in mediocrity the following season, American Crime returns with an equally powerful, compelling, and intelligent story. Created, written, and directed by Oscar-winning writer John Ridley ( 12 Years a Slave )
November 20, 2015 |
Before she was an African-American studies scholar, a history professor or a Ph.D. in African diaspora studies, Kelley Deetz was a cook, so it makes sense that she still gravitates toward the kitchen. It always ends up being the most interesting room in the house - even when the house is 250-some years old, hasn't seen an active ladle in a lifetime and is better equipped for an archaeological dig than a fancy dinner party. A Northern California native now relocated to the southern side of the Mason-Dixon, Dr. Deetz chronicles the legacy of slavery on-campus at the University of Virginia, where she is the research associate for the President's Commission on Slavery and the University.
October 30, 2015 |
JOSEPH McGILL will spend tonight sleeping where slaves once slept in the Germantown kitchen of 18th-century Cliveden mansion. Tomorrow at 7 p.m., McGill will do what he has done after spending more than 100 nights in former slave quarters in 15 states. He'll talk with the public about "The Slave Dwelling Project," his one-man effort to preserve the scarce, forgotten remains of America's slavery history. "We tend to want to preserve the nice, beautiful homes and tell the nice, beautiful stories of, usually, white men," McGill said.