Public History grad promotes African American history through architecture

December 9, 2009

A recent TU Public History grad explores African American history in Philadelphia through the city’s architecture.

A grant from the Samuel S. Fels Fund supported the work of Dana Dorman, whose studies in the public history program at Temple focused on how academic expertise is “interpreted to a broader audience. How do you get people more involved in these stories of the past, and not just have historians talking to each other? How do you share those discussions with a broader audience?”

The goal of Dorman’s project was to promote African American historical sites to the general public. But the first step involved cataloging the sites: finding out which ones are out there, their condition, and their history. Through that initial research, which included information-gathering at community meetings, a list of about 350 sites was compiled

Of course, there were many new sites that Dorman found in her research and the list grew to 450 sites. Her research revealed that there are significant sites throughout the city.

“It is not just one corridor or neighborhood. There are sites in the Northeast, Northwest, Southwest–they are really all over the place,” Dorman said.

Read more.

– Kim Fischer

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