Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 9

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 7 films.


Films Included In The Compilation:


Beyond the Sunset: The Story of Green Lawn Cemetery by Yes We Can Achievement & Cultural Center
Beyond the Sunset explores the history of Green Lawn Cemetery located in Chester, Pennsylvania; the film tells a story of trust that was placed in the cemetery, as well as the happy and sad memories that patrons now recall as its history. Runtime: 9:53

We One, the Love and Life of Norris Homes by members of the Norris Homes community

“People may move, but they don’t leave Norris.”


We One, the Love and Life of Norris Homes documents the history of a North Philadelphia public housing community affected by federal policy and is told from the perspective of former residents who lived at Norris going back to its earliest days in the 1950’s. Runtime 9:12


Preservation by Philadelphia Student Union

Malcolm X Park, formerly known as Black Oak Park, is one of the oldest parks in West Philadelphia. Since its inception it has been home to generations of residents that come from all walks of life—Preservation details the efforts that community members and residents have made to ensure the park and its history lives on. Runtime: 9:32


Plena and Bomba at the Puerto Rican Institute of Music by Instituto Puertorriqueño de Música/Puerto Rican Institute of Music

Plena and Bomba at the Puerto Rican Institute of Music profiles the director and instructor of PRIM, Alberto Pagán-Ramírez, and his students, united by their love for Puerto Rican music and its deeply historical musical traditions, particularly Plena and Bomba music. Runtime 9:05



Playing in the Wreck by Grays Ferry Civic Association

The 102-year old Vare Recreation Center, a decaying landmark in the Gray's Ferry neighborhood of South Philly, is a beacon of youth programming for a community navigating its own unique challenges and triumphs. Runtime 8:25



Resilient Roots Community Farm by VietLEAD

Resilient Roots in East Camden was started as an intergenerational project between Vietnamese elder refugees and multi-ethnic youth in 2012. In this film, voices from the Resilient Roots family, community members, students, elders capture their history of Camden and give testimony to the importance of community control of land and schools. Runtime 8:23


Why Not Prosper by Why Not Prosper

Why Not Prosper provides numerous programs and advocacy which support formerly incarcerated woman. Why Not Prosper showcases the impact the organization has within the Germantown community and at-large within Philadelphia. Runtime 8:51.



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