Blog Post #10 – Memory

Good ole March of 2020! It was only a short year ago that the Corona virus pandemic began, bringing much uncertainty and fear throughout the world. There have been so many memories created over the past year that it is so hard to choose only one. If it is all the same, I would like to offer up three distinct memories I have of this past year that I feel the need to share. The first memory that comes to mind of the beginning of the pandemic is the image of my local grocery store’s shelves being completely barren. Not in a million years would I believe that toilet paper was the leading vote getter in the Covid-19 pandemic hall of fame, with masks and hand sanitizer tied for second. Seeing signs limiting certain purchases was something I have never witnessed before. I remember returning home with the groceries we could find and wiping them down with the Clorox wipes that we have accumulated over the years from Costco! The second memory was that first week where my entire family was home to quarantine. My three daughters all began virtual learning, which was a shit show, my wife working from home, and Temple going virtual over Zoom. I only live about 30 minutes from campus and selfishly embraced no longer having to trek down to class. I do, however, feel bad for actual college age students missing out on all the fun and experiences college life has to offer. Having everyone home for such a long period of time really gave me some perspective on family togetherness. Lastly, the memory of watching the news and seeing hospitals being maxed out, make-shift hospitals being created, and the death toll constantly on the rise. The pandemic year of 2020 has spilled into 2021, and if people don’t start getting their act together vaccines or not, it may reach 2022!

Blog Post #9 – Our Current Moment

Unfortunately, my topic the 1964 Columbia Avenue riot in North Philadelphia, sadly connects with current events surrounding police using deadly force during encounters with African American citizens. These deadly encounters seem to be more frequent with no real end in sight. The use of technology whether it be video from a smartphone or from police body or dash cams, these encounters are available for us to see with our own eyes. We have the ability to see the events that took place as if we were there and form our own opinions. The generations before us obviously did not have that luxury, and I am sure these encounters were much more frequent. The events of the 1964 Columbia Avenue riot were relayed to the public by the news media and depending on what outlet you got your information from was how you formed your opinion. These events were brought to the masses from two main newspaper outlets, the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Tribune. The Philadelphia Inquirer was known to portray the white perspective, as the Tribune portrayed the black perspective. The intended audience for my project is basically everyone who cares to read it. I want to present the events of the riot from both perspectives, and attempt to fill in the gaps that both outlets intentionally and unintentionally leave out. Obviously, I will do my best to be objective, but I believe that is close to impossible as we all have experiences that naturally guide our thoughts one way or the other.

Blog Post #8 – Subjectivity

My connection to events of the past have changed dramatically since resuming my academic career at Temple. I have learned a great deal about things that I thought I already had an understanding about. For example, I was under the impression that our founding fathers were great human beings with high moral values, at least that’s what my elementary school way back in the 1980’s had me believe. I took American Revolutions last semester and boy did I find out otherwise. As a 46-year-old bi-racial man, the last four years of tension between the black community and police has been eye-opening and quite disturbing. You would think being half white and half black that I would somehow be able to look at this somewhat down the middle, but I cannot. I for whatever reason, have always sided and sympathized with my black half. The Columbia Avenue riot in North Philadelphia spoke to me because it was a local event that happened in 1960’s that can easily relate to today. I think it will be hard for me to present both sides of my project without some sense of bias, much like how the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Tribune presented their stories. I feel that I may be looking for more of the black perspective than the white perspective, and not analyze the material objectively. For years and years information has been told to us from the majority’s point of view, so I almost feel like it is my duty to present the information in favor of the minority. Stay tuned…

Midterm – Final Project Proposal

Research Question:

How did the Philadelphia Inquirer (white perspective) and the Philadelphia Tribune-Herald (black perspective) cover the 1964 Columbia Avenue riot in North Philadelphia, and what were the main differences?

Project Description:

Media in any form has the ability to shape our opinions of events by the way they are delivered to the public. It matters whose perspective the events are being conveyed in and who the intended audience is. The riot on Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia was covered by four Philadelphia newspapers and I will focus mainly on two, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Tribune. The Inquirer will offer the view from the white perspective, while the Tribune will give the black perspective. I will attempt to show how these differing views were delivered to the public and what the main differences were between the two.

Format:

Historical Op-Ed

Secondary Sources:

Maurantonio, Nicole. “Standing by Police Paralysis, Race, and the 1964 Philadelphia Riot.” Journalism History 38, no. 2 (Summer, 2012): 110-121. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/scholarly-journals/standing-police-paralysis-race-1964-philadelphia/docview/1033572130/se-2?accountid=14270.

This secondary source is important to my project as it discusses the four Philadelphia newspapers; the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philadelphia Tribune attempts at bringing the story to their community. This source provides both the black and white perspective of the riot.

“Philly’s 1964 Riots Offer Lessons.” 2020.Philadelphia Tribune, Jun 07. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/newspapers/phillys-1964-riots-offer-lessons/docview/2453785289/se-2?accountid=14270.

This secondary source is useful for my project because it discussed how the events of the 1964 Columbia Avenue riot correlate to race riots of today. This source offers a modern black view on the 1960’s riot and the lessons that should be taken away from it.

Primary Sources:

Franklin, Jack. “Trib Photog Gives Blow-by-Blow Account of Columbia Ave. Rioting: Sees Looters Strike Stores Like Soldiers Ducks Brick which Clunks Naacp Prexy.” Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), Sep 01, 1964. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/historical-newspapers/trib-photog-gives-blow-account-columbia-ave/docview/532371263/se-2?accountid=14270.

This primary source is from the September 1, 1964 edition of the Philadelphia Tribune and was written by Tribune photographer Jack Franklin who was at the scene of the riot on Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia. The primary source article gives a first-hand account of the events that took place during the riot, direct quotes from those involved, and photographic evidence. This primary source provides an excellent African-American prospective that can be compared and contrasted with the white prospective of the riot.

“September 1, 1964 (Page 1 of 40).” 1964.The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969), Sep 01, 1. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/historical-newspapers/september-1-1964-page-40/docview/1841400259/se-2?accountid=14270.

This primary source is from the September 1, 1964 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer and gives insight to the riot of Columbia Avenue from the police perspective. The Inquirer is traditionally a newspaper that is written and geared to the white reader and will offer an opposing opinion to that of the Philadelphia Tribune.

Magee, Jim and Charles Hamilton. 1964. “Riot Area Businessmen Optimistic on Reopening: Not One of those Surveyed Planned to Quit Premises.” Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), Sep 05, 4. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/historical-newspapers/riot-area-businessmen-optimistic-on-reopening/docview/532354837/se-2?accountid=14270.

This primary source gives the point of view of the black store owners and their accounts of the Columbia Avenue riot. The article describes the loss and destruction of the riot and what it would take to rebuild. The store owners however were doubtful that any aid for rebuilding would come from the city of Philadelphia.

Blog Post #7 – Silences in the Archive

Dr. Saidiya Hartman’s article Venus in Two Acts left me with more questions than answers. I do appreciate and agree with her belief that it is virtually impossible to bring history to life, when there is so much, we will never be able to find out. Basically, we have no right to fill in the blanks in someone’s story as we see fit when we do not have all the information and probably never will. There were two quotes that stood out to me about trying to narrate the past, “the necessity of recounting Venus’s death is overshadowed by the inevitable failure of any attempt to represent her. I think this is a productive tension and one unavoidable in narrating the lives of the subaltern, the dispossessed, and the enslaved” (Hartman 12), and “if this story of Venus has any value at all it is in illuminating the way in which our age is tethered to hers. A relation which others might describe as a kind of melancholia, but which I prefer to describe in terms of the afterlife of property, by which I mean the detritus of lives with which we have yet to attend, a past that has yet to be done, and the ongoing state of emergency in which black life remains in peril” (Hartman 13). These quotes will give me some guidelines on how I will attempt to convey the 1964 Columbia Avenue riot in North Philadelphia. I will be extrapolating information from both the white and black person’s perspective but will not attempt to fill in any blanks. I will merely try to shed light on how these perspectives have shaped our lives today. I am sure this will be easier said than done, stay tuned…

Hartman, Saidiya. “Venus in Two Acts.” Small Axe 12, no. 2 (2008): 1-14. muse.jhu.edu/article/241115.

Blog Post #6 – Primary Sources

Primary Source

Bibliography

Franklin, Jack. “Trib Photog Gives Blow-by-Blow Account of Columbia Ave. Rioting: Sees Looters Strike Stores Like Soldiers Ducks Brick which Clunks Naacp Prexy.” Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), Sep 01, 1964. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/historical-newspapers/trib-photog-gives-blow-account-columbia-ave/docview/532371263/se-2?accountid=14270.

B – Basic Info

  • This primary source is from the September 1, 1964 edition of the Philadelphia Tribune and was written by Tribune photographer Jack Franklin who was at the scene of the riot on Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia.

C – Close Reading 

  • The primary source article gives a first-hand account of the events that took place during the riot, direct quotes from those involved, and photographic evidence.

A – Archival Context 

  • This primary source was archived by ProQuest Historical Newspapers that is part of a database that includes Philadelphia newspapers from 1912-2001.

B – Broader Historical Context 

  • This primary source provides an excellent African-American prospective that can be compared and contrasted with the white prospective of the riot.

Submit Assignment

Blog Post #5 – Secondary Sources

Bibliography

Maurantonio, Nicole. “Standing by Police Paralysis, Race, and the 1964 Philadelphia Riot.” Journalism History 38, no. 2 (Summer, 2012): 110-121. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/scholarly-journals/standing-police-paralysis-race-1964-philadelphia/docview/1033572130/se-2?accountid=14270.

Scope

  • This secondary source examines the 1964 Columbia Avenue riot in Philadelphia and the ways that local newspapers attempted to portray the violence and the police department’s response.

Argument

  • The author, Nicole Maurantonio argues that “that journalists helped shape Philadelphia’s future course, specifically regarding to whom its police would be beholden. As interpreters of the violence that broke out on Columbia Avenue in 1964, journalists urged readers to understand the riot in a particular way: as a war touched off by deviant “hoodlums” whose blatant disregard for law and order was in some ways enabled by an unprepared Philadelphia Police Department” (Maurantonio, 111).

Significance

  • This source is important to my project as it discusses the four Philadelphia newspapers; the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philadelphia Tribune attempts at bringing the story to their community. This source provides both the black and white perspective of the riot.

Evidence

  • Maurantonio used manuscripts from the 1964 Philadelphia Inquirer, Evening Bulletin, Daily News, and Tribune.
  • Pictures from the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Library.
  • United States Kerner Commission
  • Interview, Peter Binzen by Walter M. Phillips, Sr., Nov. 27, 1979, Walter Philips Oral History Project, Temple University Urban Archives.

Submit Assignment

Blog Post #4 – Finding a Research Topic

Topic: The 1964 Columbia Avenue riot in Philadelphia

Questions guiding my research:

  1. What were the events that led up to the riot?
  2. What was the Philadelphia Police Department’s response to the riot?
  3. How did the Philadelphia Inquirer (white perspective) and the Philadelphia Tribune-Herald (black perspective) cover the riot?

https://doi-org.libproxy.temple.edu/10.5325/pennhistory.77.3.0324

Blog Post #3 – Black & Indigenous history in Philadelphia

I find both Black and Indigenous history in Philadelphia to be quite interesting. Two topics that came to mind that I would like to further explore would be the Columbia Avenue Riot in 1964, and what led to the MOVE bombing on Osage Avenue in 1985. I was ten years old when the MOVE bombing happened, and only remember Mayor Wilson Goode and Ramona Africa as key players. I would like to know more about how MOVE started and why it ended the way that it did. A class I took last semester touched a little bit on the Columbia Avenue riot and that piqued my interest as well. I would like to know more about what truly led to this riot.

Mapping Philadelphia

As I mentioned in my first post, I am in my mid 40’s and live in Horsham, PA which is about a half an hour away from Temple’s campus. Before the pandemic, my wife and I would venture into the city occasionally, for dinner, to check out a concert, or watch a sporting event down at the sports complex. I also had in-person classes at Temple so obviously I was in the city quite often for that. My entire family was always coming and going, and it was often difficult to sit down together and catch up. The Corona virus pandemic put an end to the busy life we had and sure made us appreciate the little things we were able to do before.

The map of Philadelphia I attempted to create was to represent how life has changed for my family and I during Covid. It was always a nice option to buy tickets online and watch the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies games in person. Obviously not an option any longer, at least for now. I also wanted to show that attending in-person classes at Temple was no longer allowed, switching to an entirely remote learning environment. Finally, I wanted to show my three daughters also had been switched to virtual instruction, causing my wife and I to upgrade our Verizon Fios to the fastest connection they offered to accommodate everyone’s internet needs. The pandemic has been a blessing in disguise as I have never spent so much quality time with my wife and kids.