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Explore by Theme: Race Relations

Black and white photo portrait of adult Paul Robeson, wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and white-speckled dark tie.

Three heroic Civil Rights icons—Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—left formidable imprints on West Philadelphia. These biographies sketch out their lives and contributions, emphasizing their common ground as precursors to Black Lives Matter movement and the 1619 Project.

This story collection traces a sixty-year process of urban renewal on the site that once was the heart of West Philadelphia’s Black Bottom. Over this span of time, urban renewal on this site has been cyclic and replete with irony.

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, a popular though controversial TV program targeted toward teenage consumers, marked Philadelphia as the national epicenter of pop music during its seven-year run at ABC’s affiliated WFIL-TV at 4548 Market St.

Health issues that would plague generations of African Americans in northern cities in the twentieth century, including patients treated by the Philadelphia General Hospital in the three decades after the Second World War, can be traced to cities’ discriminatory health and employment policies and practices, which found support in the writings of anti-black race-writers.

A postcard advertising rowhouses for sale in 1914, just two years before Philadelphia experienced a severe housing crisis.

A housing crisis, combined with White resistance to Black settlement, created high rents and overcrowding for migrants in the first wave of the Great Migration.

A segregated waiting room crowded with travelers at the Jacksonville railroad depot.

Southern African American migrants shared a complex relationship with Philadelphia’s middle-class Black families with multigenerational ties to the city.

Southern Family Arriving in the North

The Great Migration left a lasting impact on West Philadelphia that can still be felt and seen in residential patterns and community relationships.

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra

Fay’s Theatre found success as a jazz club after managers expanded their target audience to reflect West Philadelphia’s changing demographics.