September 28, 1991 |
Firefighter Gregory Pridgen shows children how to handle a real fire hose, as Steve Galante looks on yesterday on North Frazier Street, where the two members of Engine 41, Ladder 24, joined a block party to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the House of UMOJA, under the leadership of Sister Falaka Fattah. The block party was followed by a celebration at the Penn Towers Ballroom at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard.
June 17, 1987 |
She had never heard of Paul Simon, but she's happy to take his money. The phone call came earlier this spring to her West Philadelphia office. Julian Bond, the civil-rights activist, wanted to speak with Sister Falaka Fattah. She figured it was a joke. She has spent the last 19 years helping bad kids go straight, and sometimes they play pranks. But she took the call. Julian Bond told her that singer Paul Simon was adding eight cities to his Graceland tour and that Philadelphia would host two gigs, beginning tonight.
November 25, 1994 |
The House of Umoja, the West Philadelphia foster home and enrichment center founded by Sister Falaka Fattah for urban youth, is getting a special award from the charitable arm of the Philadelphia Bar Association. "Sister Fattah and the House of Umoja have done more at the grass-roots level than anyone else I know to prevent crime and save the youth of this city," said Benjamin Lerner, chairman of the committee for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation's 1994 Louis D. Apothaker Award.
February 13, 1988 |
The city fire marshal's office continues to investigate a one-alarm fire that damaged a residence and cultural center at the House of Umoja complex on Frazier Street near Master in West Philadelphia yesterday, fire officials said. Ten youths escaped the 10:04 a.m. fire at the Martin Luther King Cultural Center, said House of Umoja founder Sister Falaka Fattah. The building was badly damaged and an exhibit featuring a model of the West African city of Jenne - considered to be among the world's most beautiful cities during the 12th Century - suffered severe smoke and water damage.
April 10, 2012 |
FRANCES ELLEN Brown Davenport was a journalist in Philadelphia back in the bad old days of the '60s, when violent teenage gangs were running wild in the city streets. And she had a journalist's curiosity. "I wanted to know why children were killing each other," she said. "I asked my husband to do some research for me. I wanted to get a handle on the problem. " Then came a shock. Her husband, David Fattah Sr., discovered that her 16-year-old son, Robin, was a gang member.
February 15, 1988 |
The boys at the House of Umoja are counting their blessings. First, nobody was hurt when a Friday morning fire destroyed their belongings and their home on Frazier Street near Master in West Philadelphia. And secondly, their television miraculously survived. "They were so excited when they plugged it in and it worked," House of Umoja founder Sister Falaka Fattah said yesterday. "We were thinking about calling the manufacturer so they could do a commercial about it. " The boys, aged 15 to 18, spent the weekend clearing smoked-out debris from their second-floor dwelling.
August 18, 1995 |
Lanky young men gathered on the porch of the House of Umoja yesterday were silent and glum. They were beyond sad. Beyond distraught. "They're devastated," said Sharif Fattah, one of the counselors for the teen-agers who live at the house in West Philadelphia. Alan Cromwell, the "baby" of their group, who at 14 was the youngest of the young residents at Philadelphia's own "Boys Town" had been killed only two hours earlier. Details were sketchy, but police said the killing appeared accidental.
July 23, 2003 |
On Sept. 13, Falaka and David Fattah will celebrate their 35th anniversary as directors of the House of Umoja, the first urban "Boys Town" in this city and possibly the nation. The House of Umoja - a Swahili word that means unity - is contained in 23 row homes on the 1400 block of N. Frazier Street, a narrow, West Philadelphia block. The House of Umoja is home to 15 boys from 15 to 18 years of age in a residential treatment program. The staff of Umoja numbers seven, two of whom have been with Umoja since the beginning.
June 27, 1994 |
Sister Falaka Fattah, famed for helping tame youth gangs two decades ago, was in a hospital being treated for pneumonia last winter when she read yet another study about violence among young African American men in West Philadelphia. "I was in the intensive-care unit, and I thought: That's what our community needs. Intensive care," said the founder of the House of Umoja, a sort of urban boys town for troubled youths. Her idea for fighting violence by providing intensive care and attention to African American boys took shape Saturday.
November 30, 1998 |
Lateef Johnson needed a tie. The 20-year-old West Philadelphia resident had a job interview two weeks ago, and although he had a suit and a good pair of shoes, he didn't have a brown tie. So early that morning - on the way to the job interview - he stopped at the House of Umoja, as have thousands of young men over the last 30 years. Sister Falaka Fattah, 67, who founded the House of Umoja in West Philadelphia in 1968, reached into the bottom left-hand drawer of a beat-up desk and pulled out an assortment of ties.