Scribe Video Center was founded in 1982 by Pew and MacArthur Fellow Louis Massiah as a place where individuals and communities learn media-making and explore the use of video as both an artistic medium and a tool for progressive social change. A nationally known and community-based media arts center, Scribe has compiled more than 350 documentary works that represent a history of Philadelphia told by its citizens.
Scribe Video Center will produce a documentary surveying the history of North Philadelphia’s black community from 1896 to 1968. The film will weave a lyrical historical narrative from the year Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois began his research for The Philadelphia Negro to the year the historically segregated Girard College admitted its first black students. During this time period, large numbers of African Americans migrated from the South to Philadelphia, where they created new centers for black culture. The film will re-contextualize this twentieth-century history through oral accounts and photographs and will draw from historical and contemporary studies of North Philadelphia’s people and land. Scribe executive director and Pew Fellow Louis Massiah will write and direct the film. Project collaborators include Bradford Young, the first African American director of photography to be nominated for an Academy Award; Billy Woodberry, an internationally-recognized independent filmmaker; Dr. Diane Turner, curator of Temple University's Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection; and Dr. Rae Alexander-Minter, a scholar and former director of public programs and education at the New York Historical Society. Several site-specific community installations and forums will further illuminate the film.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.