Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 8

Produced by: 
Scribe Video Center and Various Community Organizations

Precious Places Compilation Price:

Higher Education Institutions & Government Agency DVD | $139.00
K-12 & Public Libraries DVD | $79.00
Home Video DVD License – Restrictions Apply | $20.00



While tourists head straight for the city’s official “Historic District” and native Philadelphian’s think they have seen it all, Scribe Video Center’s Precious Places Community History Project reveals bypassed neighborhood sites as bright landmarks that surprise and inspire residents and visitors alike. Using the video documentary as a storytelling medium, neighborhood residents have come together to document the oral histories of their communities. Over the past three and half decades Scribe has collaborated with community groups from Philadelphia, Chester, Ardmore, and Camden to produce over 100 community histories. Precious Places is a regional history, an occasion for neighbors to tell their own stories about and the people and places that make their communities unique. This DVD features 9 films.


Films Included In The Compilation:

Coming to Herself: The YWCA Chester Story by "Yes" We Can Achieve Center (Chester, PA)
Once a center of activity for women, the historic site of Yes" We Can Achieve Center has evolved into an emerging community center, sanctuary, and historical repository to serve the broader Chester community (00:09:22). Read more

Painted Bride Art Center: Deep Roots|Bold Future by Painted Bride Art Center in Old City
This short documentary highlights some of the precious people who have been a part of the Painted Bride over the last 50 years (00:08:03). Read more

The Bethel Burying Ground Film by Bethel Burying Ground Production Team (Southwark/Queen Village)
An abandoned burial space, once owned by the historic Mother Bethel AME church, where more than 5,000 Black people were interred starting in 1810, was discovered. This is both a story of the struggle to reclaim the overlooked history of Black people in colonial Philadelphia, but also a story of the organizing, coalition building, and strategy employed by community members intent on preserving and memorializing what they termed as, "the ancestors of the African Diaspora.” Read more

Staying Put by Chinatown Community Development Corporation (Chinatown) 
Listen as voices from the 1960s to present day chronicle Philadelphia Chinatown’s history of community and resistance to external forces of development, gentrification, and erasure. This short documentary focuses on the ways in which the residents have organized and introduces the construction of Eastern Tower Community Center, which is being built in hopes of creating a vital shared community space (0:10:35). Read more

St. Peter Claver, Mother Church of Black Catholics: Let Us PrAy! Let Us PrEy! By the Advocates and Descendants of St. Peter Claver Church (Washington Square West/Center City)
The inception, life, challenges, and legacy of Philadelphia’s first Black Catholic Parish and those who were influenced and blessed by the presence of St. Peter Claver, the Mother of the Black Catholics (00:09:37). Read more

Build Your Own Door - Atkinson Memorial Hospital in Coatesville by the Hayti Historical Society (Coatesville, PA)
In 1936, despite the ravages of segregation in Coatesville, PA., Dr. Whittier Cinclair Atkinson faced extraordinary challenges to build and successfully operate his own hospital (00:13:10). Read more

Stadium Stompers by Stadium Stompers (North Philadelphia)
North Central Philadelphians struggle against a university’s encroachment on their land that threatens the existence of a community and culture (00:08:32). Read more

Church of the Advocate: The Heart of North Philadelphia by Church of the Advocate (North Philadelphia) 
The Church of the Advocate is a beacon in North Philadelphia. This documentary takes a historical look into its founding and legacy (00:08:10). Read more

Where Art Lives by the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance/Paul Robeson House & Museum  (West Philadelphia)
Inspired by Paul Robeson, a man who used his artistic voice as an instrument against racism and oppression all over the world, the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance/Paul Robeson House & Museum from its namesake to its founding and its community programming symbolizes the man (00:09:10). Read more


Quotes From Educators:

"It [Precious Places] moves documentary practice away from the individualistic and idiosyncratic, typified in projects likeSupersize Me (2004, by Morgan Spurlock) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004, by Michael Moore), towards collaborative interactions between neighborhoods, filmmakers, and scholars who create new histories. As a result, the project constitutes more than an intervention into the conceptualization of documentary. Importing concepts from postcolonial studies, the project shows how to embody difficult and sprawling polyvcalities and microhistories as a way to reclaim and revitalize ideas about the archive, history and memory.

Rather than creating a single authorial vision, Precious Places advances the collaborative ethnographic and historical model, where community participants become the authors and not simply the objects of community history."

-- an excerpt from Patricia Zimmerman's article "Imbedded Public Histories" published in Afterimage, March/April 2006

Film Stills