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||The Truth About Philadelphia
Glenn Holsten Lead-in:
Traveling through different neighborhoods for these interviews, I often felt like I was traveling through time. From the colonial brick homes in Society Hill to the somewhat faded Victorian splendor of West Philadelphia. From the tiny turn of the century row homes of a working class North Philadelphia, to the 1940s and 50s suburban homes in the Northeast. The shiny office towers that eclipsed Billy Penn when they went up in the 1980s. What does is mean for a city to be rich in history and how does that fact impact the everyday lives of the people who live here?
When I came here the first time I want, we, we wanted to see the Liberty Bell, we wanted to see the Art Museum because down South everything was segregated and we couldn't even go in historical buildings on tours. So here I wondered why nobody was doing these things. And they thought that my sister and I were crazy because every day we were getting on the trolley going someplace different. And I just started, it, it was so much here and so few people using it.
We don't know what's in front of us and we don't appreciate things until we don't have it. Okay, I think that people in Philadelphia in general. Does it effect them? I mean the fact that they live in Philadelphia and it's the birthplace of our country does it make that much more of a difference? I don't really think so.
I think that those people who are interested in marketing the city, those people who are interested in doing business in the city, I think it means something for them. But for the most part I'd imagine that a whole lot of people, they probably heard it one time and have never thought about it again.
I mean, if affects Center City, but it doesn't affect the outlying parts of the City. So how does it impact the people who live here and were born and raised here? I don't think it does one bit to tell you the truth. Okay? I mean, it's a tourist attraction for God's sakes, that's about it.
We are very conscious of Independence Mall when we get people visiting us from out of state. The first place we take them is Independence Mall. And it's only then that we realize you know, for a lot of us it's the first time we've been there since we've been in school.
If we all feel that Philadelphia is the founding part of our country, we all feel, one feels just as much entitled as the other. And I certainly think that this is the way it should be. What makes you think that you own, you have more here or you have more rights here than I do? It's, it's, it's supposed to be a free country. And everybody's looking for freedom. I am. And I'm sure you are.
So that, that spirit of liberty is really the driving force behind Philadelphia. That's the thing that will never die. And the reason why it's still a free country is because, the constant need of the people to express themselves, and the constant need of people when, when there is an injustice. It may take, it really doesn't take too long. People speak up about it and their voices are heard.
There's something hopeful about Philadelphia. I feel that there's a really strong sense of history here. You know, I feel that we are aware of our roots of the past. I mean, there's something really profound about it and maybe something that's not really stated or blatant. It's no-nothing that's really obvious, but I feel it very strongly, especially coming from a younger city like Los Angeles where I felt like there wasn't a sense of, of, of place, of the past, of roots.
Even walking down an old street and seeing the brick sidewalks still. It's part of history that's still there. I feel very much connected with it. Cause I'm walking down that street and I can feel the vibrations from what used to happen and I try to think back. And you can just close your eyes and you'll cry, you'll laugh cause what those men went through for us to be free.
This is the cradle of liberty. This is where it all started. This is the City where we developed a, a, a psyche that we can survive as an independent nation.
We have to like live up to this reputation that we got a long time ago. And um and every single day we're up to the test and something like you know what happened in Grays Ferry you that alone puts that to the test you know. Are we the City of Brotherly Love, you know?
If the founding fathers came back here now, they would ask themselves why they bothered, why they worked so hard. I think they would cry, I think they would be very angry. And I, and I'll add another thing. I think they would be extremely ashamed and disappointed.
Most people are caught up in the day to day struggle for survival. And they don't have time or the inclination to be concerned about what our forefathers, intentions are; they know what's going on today. But, I historically, of course, it, it means a lot. And, uh, I guess there's that old saying that people who forget the past are destined to repeat it. So, yes, we probably need to revisit some of our, umm, uh, constitutional, uh, issues. But, like I say, most of us are caught up in the day to day struggle; Constitution dammit, I need my check. Does the Constitution get me my money, you know?
I will not drive home from Center City Philadelphia without going down Market Street to see the Liberty Bell. Umm, I hope they don't move it because I love where it is. You can see it right off the street and, and anybody passing by can see all the people admiring it and loving it. And, umm, how many cities can you go to that have this kind of history? And, and still revel in it?
Ken White :
And I, at least, have this sense of that things are continuing to happen.Umm, and, and part of that is you're around, you're just reminded that people can do things, that you can start things, that things can be different.
And you know, history didn't stop (LAUGH) during the Colonial period.
You have a sense that uh that it's not just something in the past, but it's something that you're creating. That you have a responsibility for what you hand on, because what you're living right now is the history.