Just another Germantown blog

Archive for February, 2011

Tony Chandler- Living Library

Goals and Guidelines

Our goal upon meeting Mr. Chandler is to establish a sense of familiarity.  The first thing we will do is introduce ourselves, giving a background of who we are. We want him to feel comfortable but at the same time understand what we are doing with our project. This calls for complete openness between our group and Mr. Chandler.  To increase his comfort level, we will engage him in conversation, and if he enjoyed the lecture. 

Next, we will begin with an abbreviated interview without prying answers from him. This should be a relaxed and informative conversation.  If there should be any lull in the conversation, we will switch to a different topic.   

We want to be on his level – making it  an even playing field.    As a group we each come from different backgrounds, but at the same time, we don’t know as much as Mr. Chandler.  We want to pose our questions in a way that makes us seem inquisitive, not naive.  We want to put experience to the facts that we know.  Our group believes this is well-rounded reporting.

 Questions and Conversation

Below are the questions that our group will use on Mr. Chandler on March 21:

  1. Where did you grow up?
  2. Do you have any fond memories of your birthplace?
  3. What brought you to Philadelphia?
  4. Who did you move with?
    1. Did your family move later?
    2. What mode of transportation did you use to get to Philadelphia?
    3. What was your first job here?
    4. Did you go to school?
    5. When you were younger where was your favorite place to hang out?
    6. If someone talks about the “Great Migration” what comes to mind?

10.  Do you see it as an important event in American history?

11.  Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

We’re not sure how much time we will have.  So, we have additional questions that if have the time, we will use.  We can always save our extra questions for the March 28 meeting:

  1. What was family-life like in Philadelphia?
  2. Did you get along with your neighbors?
  3. When you first got to Philadelphia (or later) did you join a church or any other Philly-based organization?
  4. Could you compare and contrast your hometown and Philadelphia?
  5. 

 Tony Chandler-Movie Star

From a video perspective, we think one of the easiest ways to calm the nerves of Mr. Chandler is to not have the camera directly in front of him. Putting the camera in front of him might make him focus solely on being taped and limit the amount of depth that we are trying to get in this interview. What we want to do is to tape Mr. Chandler on a 45 degree angle. This would create some depth in the shot as well as allow us to have Mr. Chandler not look at the camera when he is talking, hopefully allowing us to get the information we need.

 Roles, Rules and Regulations

Roles throughout the interview process:

-Video: Anthony

-Interviewing: Erin

-Note taker: Sara

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“The fool’s errand of creating a Racial Utopia”

“In a way, it has just begun”

– Nicholas Lemann, author of “The Promised Land.”

 


The Great Migration is not something that typically comes to the average American’s mind when thinking about Civil Rights- in fact, you may have no idea what I’m even talking about.   It is wrapped in layers of many other significant parts of the twentieth century, a time during which America underwent major changes. The Great Migration began, author Nicholas Lemann says, in the early 1940s and lasted until the 1960s. It consisted of 6 million African Americans leaving the oppression of the South and setting out for the North. However, there is no clean cut ending to the story of the Great Migration. It is still being written by the future generations of those courageous men and women who forced America to open her eyes to the tragedy of race relations.

Isabel Wilkerson, whose parents traveled North, provides a detailed account of the Great Migration by interviewing 1,000 people for her book The Warmth of Other Suns. Click this link to hear her speak about her book and the impact that the Great Migration had on America. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129827444

“There were rumors that the machine was close to being perfected, finally”
From a historical and academic standpoint, it is easy to point to sharecropping as the event that kicked off the Great Migration. According to Lemann, one machine was able to do the work of 50 humans on the cotton plantations, and most African Americans were left unemployed.
“The marriage of a person of Caucasian blood with a Negro, Mongolian, Malay, or Hindu shall be null and void”
The Jim Crow segregation laws serve as a reminder to all Americans that violence and inequality were once accepted here. From barber shops to burials, citizens were shamelessly excluded from the advantages of being an American.  As these laws were being enforced, it became increasingly apparent to Southern blacks that the time had come to move out and move North.
For a full list of the Jim Crow Laws, visit http://academic.udayton.edu/race/02rights/jcrow02.htm
“This could be done without undertaking the fool’s errand of trying to persuade people of racial utopia.”
It is impossible to summarize what exactly 5 million black Americans found when they reached their Northern destination, but Lemann’s narrative follows a few of these men and women and their introduction to whites that went out of their way to integrate their communities and take baby steps toward progress. There were also those whites that chose to leave their city once blacks had migrated there. Most of these affluent families that fled their homes out of ignorance left behind a neighborhood of blacks that were so oppressed by unequal labor laws that they struggled to provide for their families. Demographically, America changed. Socially, it was in no way perfect.
“The racial situation as it stands today is not permanent”
The Great Migration, although it gets little recognition, changed America in almost every way possible. It changed the demographic of our cities and the economics of the entire country. It brought up new social issues and forced the average white citizen, not just politicians to deal with issue of racism together. America is still a work in progress, but to change the future, we must remain educated on the past.

Talking “community” with Germantown residents

Last weekend, Emily and I went back to Germantown. This time, we had recorders instead of cameras and were looking for people who were ready to be candid with us about their lifestyle in Germantown. We encountered four women who were willing to speak with us.

“Interview with Robin, a young woman raised in Germantown”

Robin, though at first (understandably) cautious about two random people with recording devices, really opened up to us. She shared some memories of her childhood, such as being able to play on the street without worry, something that children growing up in Germantown today aren’t able to do. While she didn’t mention children of her own, Robin was holding a diaper bag which made me think that she was thinking about her own kids and while speaking about the dangers that feels are constantly present in her neighborhood.

“Interview with two anonymous women”

In a more commercial area of Germantown, we spoke to two elderly women doing some Sunday shopping outside of a Payless. The women declined to state their names for the interview, but had a lot to say about what has happened to their community. I found it interesting that although they both expressed disappointment in Germantown, they were very defensive of it. While listening to the short audio file, try and concentrate on how many times they say that the problem “is everywhere.” It’s hard to hear, but the first woman says that she has been here since 1963 and has watched the decline of a community that she loves. She says, “I like it here because I have been here all my life.” This made me think about how powerful her attachment to Germantown must be for her to live somewhere solely because of positive memories.

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