Awakening

Philadelphia, circa 1900.

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.

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