Petty's Island: A Sacred Part of America’s Story

Produced by: 
Camden City African American Commission 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. 3 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.


Humanities Consultant: Ricardo Howell

Production Facilitator: Amanda Whittenberger 


Film Summary:

Narrated by Danny Glover, Petty's Island: A Sacred Part of America’s Story reveals the legacy of an island with a unique place in the historic encounter between Africans, Europeans and Native Americans in the Philadelphia region. Situated in the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden, Petty’s Island was Lenni-Lenape land before colonial European slave traders utilized it as a depot for enslaved Africans in the 1600s. The 292 acre island is now a defunct oil terminal owned by the Citco Corporation. Its fields and forests harbor delicate ecosystems that environmental activists are trying to protect. It also has an important place in local African American history as a primary entry point for slaves.

Petty's Island examines the island’s role in the colonial slave trade and examines the Quakers’ efforts to secure safe passage for escaped slaves, a precursor to the Underground Railroad. It portrays the present-day efforts of activists and environmentalists to transform the island into a historic site and wildlife refuge, despite a billion-dollar proposed development plan. Combining elements of community history, race history, colonial history, slavery and ecology, Petty’s Island is a valuable tool for educators seeking to emphasize the links between the diverse people and social forces that shaped the Philadelphia and Camden regions.


Film Stills: