New York may have had its Ric Burns, but Philadelphia has its Sam Katz. Since 2007, Katz, his son Philip, and their History Making Productions has been producing Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, a multi-part history of the city, which is also accompanied by excellent educational materials. It has been a long effort, and it’s still not yet entirely complete, but recently HMP released its latest episode, “Awakening (1900-1920),” in which I’m particularly interested, primarily because this was the period in which my father’s parents arrived in Philadelphia, settling in Northern Liberties. It’s a splendid series, beautifully produced, and quite explicit about the challenges that the city and its people have faced through the more than three centuries of its existence.
This new episode — featuring segments on Shibe Park, the employment of children in textile mills, immigration, race issues, Albert Greenfield, and Marian Anderson (with an underscore of music by Scott Joplin) — can be seen below.