Fair Hill: To Badlands and Back Again

Produced by: 
Fair Hill Cemetery with Scribe Video Center

Individual Film Price:

Higher Education Institutions & Government Agency DVD | $49.95
K-12 & Public Libraries DVD | $49.95
Home Video DVD License – Restrictions Apply | $5.95



Precious Places Compilation Price:

This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
Higher Education Institutions & Government Agency DVD | $139.00
K-12 & Public Libraries DVD | $79.00
Home Video DVD License – Restrictions Apply | $20.00



Scribe Video Center Program:

The Precious Places Community History Project is a community oral history project inviting members of the Philadelphia region's many neighborhoods to document the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks and other sites that hold the memories of our communities and define where we live. Precious Places teaches the video production process to participating groups, fostering projects authored by those who intimately know the featured neighborhoods.


Videomaking Consultant: Martin Lautz
Humanities Consultant: Miriam Camitta
Post Production: Martin Lautz


Film Summary:

Fair Hill: To Badlands and Back Again is about the history of a 300-year-old Quaker cemetery in North Philadelphia on Germantown Avenue. Deeded to local residents by Quakerism founder George Fox in the 1700s, the burial ground is the resting place of many of women and men who were active in the Underground Railroad. Philadelphians such as feminist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott and abolitionist Robert Purvis are buried here.

In recent years, the cemetery itself has become the focus of a new generation of community activists. Like many Philadelphia neighborhoods, the area around Fair Hill was hit hard by de-industrialization in the early 1960s. Formerly teeming with factories, the neighborhood's affluence declined as industries moved out and urban malaise moved in. Weary of the drug dealers who plied their trade among the gravestones, neighbors such as Peaches Ramos took radical action. They blocked traffic and occupied the corner, sometimes 24 hours a day, refusing to allow dealers or their customers into the neighborhood. They pulled up the weeds that had overgrown the burial sites and cleaned up the trash. Fair Hill: To Badlands and Back Again the partnership between local residents and the Quaker activists who still remain in the area, and portrays neighbors’ efforts to transform the historic cemetery into a wholesome, safe, and green space for the community.


Citations in Academia: 

Open Space New Media Documentary: A Toolkit for Theory and Practice by Patricia R. Zimmermann and Helen De Michiel, Routledge (2018)
Imbedded Public Histories by Patricia R. Zimmermann; Afterimage; Rochester Vol. 33, Iss. 5,  (Mar/Apr 2006)

June 2004 | “Short Takes, June 2004” by Tamara Krinsky
November 11, 2007 | “A thoughtful, thankful chronicler” by Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

Public Screenings, Broadcasts and Festivals: 
November 11, 2007 | Broadcast on WHYY-TV

Film Stills: