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:
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.