Photo Essay: Funeral for a Mantua Home

By Joshua Albert

On Saturday, members of the Mantua community in Philadelphia gathered to pay respects for a row home at 3711 Melon St, one of three buildings remaining on its largely vacant block. A local church sung hymns and a pastor delivered the eulogy. Following the service local dance groups and drum lines performed for guests and a meal was served.

The demolishing is in part related to the Obama administration’s “Promise Zone” initiative. According to Al-Jazeera America journalist Kate Kilpatrick, Mantua is one of 20 highly-impoverished, blighted neighborhoods across the country selected for Obama’s revitalization plan. 96 percent of children under the age of five live in poverty, and one in four residents face unemployment.

The initiative is described by the administration as “a plan to work with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing and improve public safety.”

My photo essay below:

 

Home_Funeral_1

A girl joins dancers practicing before the funeral.

 

A dumpster, serving as a casket, sits before a crane that will tear down the home at 3711 Melon St.

A dumpster, serving as a casket, sits before a crane that will tear down the home at 3711 Melon St.

 

A resident watches as a local pastor delivers the eulogy.

A resident watches as a local pastor delivers the eulogy.

 

A former 3711 Melon Street resident watches as her old home is demolished.

A former 3711 Melon Street resident watches as her old home is demolished.

 

 First pieces of debris fall to the ground as the crane begins to tear down 3711 Melon Street.


First pieces of debris fall to the ground as the crane begins to tear down 3711 Melon Street.

 

A local choir begins singing as the home is demolished.

A local choir begins singing as the home is demolished.

 

A young drummer prepares to perform as the house is being demolished.

A young drummer prepares to perform as the house is being demolished.

 

The community prepares for dinner after the Mantua row home is demolished.

The community prepares for dinner after the Mantua row home is demolished.

Joshua Albert is a photojournalist and activist in Philadelphia and is The Declaration’s first staff photographer and guest contributor. You can find more of Joshua’s work here. Follow him on twitter at @jpegjoshua.

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There are 3 comments

  1. John Schwarzenbach

    Thanks for this posting, The sad fact is that more important events such as this receive so little attention. These beautiful historic homes and neighborhoods should be preserved not torn down, to be replaced by newer less affordable less substantial properties.

    Like

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