The Historical Commission’s Committee on Historic Designation is preparing to designate a neighborhood in South Philly, as a local historic district in Philadelphia.
Graduate Hospital, otherwise known as the “Black Doctors Row”, will be the first Black section of Philadelphia that will be acknowledged for its contribution to the city.
Back in 1899, W.E.B DuBois published a study during his time at the University of Pennsylvania.
In his report, The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study, W.E.B. DuBois documented South Philly’s “main street” for Philadelphia’s Black elite in the 20th century. The Black district comprises of 154 properties from South Broad to South 20th Streets. Most of three-story brick rowhouses constructed in the last half of the 1800s, were constructed by Black architect Julian Abele. Julian Abele constructed more than 400 buildings including the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The renowned architect resided at 1515 Christian Street in South Philly, and the Historical Commission’s Committee on Historic Designation wants to use Christian Street as the basis of the district’s new name.
The proposed Christian Street Historic District was in trouble of severe demolition two years ago.
City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson was a proprietor in City Council’s two-year decision to delay the tearing down the Black neighborhood. The South Philly residents of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and the South of South Neighbors Association didn’t make it easy for City Council to commence with their plan either. The delay on the demolition is going to end on July 1st. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, on July 8th the committee is expected to take the measure to a vote on the district’s official introduction as a historic Philadelphia district.
What other Black and Brown neighborhoods in Philly deserve to be recognized? Let us know in comment section.