Chester (PA) Alumnae Making Moves With Local Documentary
Submitted by Kamira Evans
Chester (PA) Alumnae Chapter is making history — and documentaries! CAC recently screened its documentary We Been Here, an exploration of the history of the Black community in Delaware County, the chapter’s service area. This film fulfilled a significant need in the service area because the stories of the Black community have been overlooked and lost over time. The film applauds and celebrates Black residents for their resilience in the face of racism and white supremacy.
The film is divided into three sections:
Part 1: How We Got Here is an exploration of the early Black communities in Delaware County — starting with the Underground Railroad, the Great Migration, the Black Church, and the expansion of industries in World War I America.
Part 2: How We Survived Here. This section examines the political background and development of the Civil Rights Movement in Delaware County. The film explores topics like Segregation, the integration of schools, the significance of Cheyney University, Housing segregation, Environmental racism in Chester, the War on Drugs, and the creation of the nation’s first Black-owned swim club, The Nile Swim Club.
Part 3: How We Doing Here looks at present-day Delaware County. It explores the political achievements of Black residents and famous Delaware county residents who have made notable contributions to sports and entertainment. Part 3 also includes the stories of Black migrants from West Africa.
The film was created for free in only two months by first-time filmmaker chapter member Rabiyatu Jalloh and her colleague, David Gaines. Members of the committee include chapter members Ashley Rankine, Rasheeda Jones-Maddred, Amy Bounds, and Selena Johnson. The research included using online archives, ancestry.com, newspaper.com, and various other sources. Zoom interviews were conducted with both Chapter Delta Dears (including local civil rights icon and Delta Delores R. Shelton) and other lifelong residents about their lives and what it was like growing up Black in Delaware County. Chapter member Latifah K. Fields provided the narration.
The screening program concluded with panelists and a Q and A session. More than 150 members of the community, including the Mayor of Chester, PA, and other local political dignitaries, attended the program. It was considered a great success and has received attention around its distribution. The chapter is currently exploring ways to share it with students in local school districts.
Submitted by Kamira Evans Chester (PA) Alumnae Chapter is making history — and documentaries! CAC recently screened its documentary We Been Here, an exploration of the history of the Black community in Delaware County, the chapter’s service area. This film fulfilled a significant need in the service area because the stories of the Black community have been …