Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

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Jul 8 2016

16 Things To Know: African-American Philadelphia

From Colonial Through Modern Days In The City Of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection

Strength In Numbers:

  1. The 2010 U.S. Census reported 661,839—that’s 43.37%—of Philadelphians are African-American, the city’s second largest ethnic demographic. More recent estimates show this population has increased by approximately 1% in the past six years.
  2. The largest concentration—82%—of African-American Philadelphians live in North Philadelphia west of Germantown Avenue, Point Breeze in South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and in parts of Southwest Philadelphia.
  3. Important African-American business corridors include 52nd Street between Walnut and
    Arch Streets and Baltimore Avenue between 40th and 52nd Streets, both in West Philadelphia; and Stenton Avenue between Broad Street and Walnut Lane and Ogontz Avenue between Wyncote Avenue and Walnut Lane, both in West Oak Lane in North Philadelphia.

Exhibitions & Festivals:

  1. Currently displayed at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Creative Africa includes five exhibitions that embrace art and design from the African continent. Pieces range from centuries-old bronze sculptures from the kingdom of Benin to contemporary fashion, photography and architecture. Two of the five exhibits close September 25, 2016 (others stay open through December 2016 and January 2017). Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building, 2525 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100,
  2. Nari Ward: Sun Splashed offers a mid-career survey of the Jamaica-born artist, best known for his large-scale found-object assemblage work—a modern commentary on black history, the Caribbean diaspora, immigration and power. Of special pride to Philadelphians are Ward’s shoelace sculpture We the People and Homeland Sweet Homeland, a sendup of Miranda Rights—both of which he created in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway,
  3. Nearly half a million people attend Odunde, a blockbuster festival of African, Caribbean and African-American culture, food and fun on South Street on the second Sunday in June. Thousands also come to Delaware River Waterfront each summer for the Roots Picnic, founded by Questlove of The Roots. Ebony magazine called Philly’s BlackStar Film Festival, held each August, “the black Sundance.” And the city is also the original location of Jay Z’s Made in America, a music festival taking place each year over Labor Day weekend.,,,

A Rich History:

  1. Historic Philadelphia recognizes African-American life in the country’s earliest days through attractions, reenactments and signs. Pennsylvania Historical Markers honor both the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the first American organization to work formally to end the practice of slavery, and the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, also the first of its kind in the states. Open-air site The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation reminds visitors that President George Washington practiced slavery at home, via stories of Hercules and Ona Judge, among others. The nearby Liberty Bell stood for the abolitionist movement in the 1830s and continues to represent freedom.;
  2. Mother Bethel A.M.E., founding church of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) denomination, celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. From July 3 through 13, the church hosts a bicentennial year celebration and the A.M.E. General Conference. The church building occupies the oldest parcel of U.S. land continuously owned by African-Americans and houses co-founder Richard Allen’s pulpit, tomb and museum. 419 S. 6th Street, (215) 925-0616,
  3. North Philadelphia’s 130-year-old George W. South Church of the Advocate has long promoted social justice. During the Civil Rights era, the church hosted the National Conference of Black Power (1968) and Black Panther Conference (1970). It was also the first Episcopal Church to ordain women (1974). 1801 W. Diamond Street, (215) 978-8000,
  4. In 1976, the African American Museum in Philadelphia became the first institution in a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Collections include that of photojournalist Jack T. Franklin, documenter of the Civil Rights movement both nationally and locally. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380,
  5. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama chose the National Constitution Center (NCC) as the site of his “A More Perfect Union” speech on race. The oratory on race delivered a message of unity and patriotism and is widely regarded as a turning point in the presidential primary season. The NCC is currently hosting the interactive exhibit Headed to the White House, through November 8, 2016. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600,

Living Legacies:

  1. Philadelphia’s rich musical legacy is African-American musical history. The city was the proud home of contralto Marian Anderson, the trailblazing opera singer who wowed at Carnegie Hall, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial from 1925-1965. Her memorabilia-packed row house sits a few blocks south of Rittenhouse Square. Nearby, South Broad Street’s Tindley Temple is widely considered the birthplace of gospel. In the 1970s, partners Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble perfected “Philadelphia soul” via gold singles and albums they produced for Philadelphia International Records. Patti LaBelle proudly calls Philly her hometown, as do Boyz II Men, Will Smith, Schoolly D, Jill Scott, The Roots, Meek Mill, Chill Moody and Jazmine Sullivan.
  2. Among the city’s innovation- and tech-minded black entrepreneurs are Christopher Gray, founder and CEO of the Scholly app; Project Runway winner and fashion designer Dom Streater; Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse’s Ariell R. Johnson, the first African-American woman owner of an East Coast comics store; Wil Reynolds, founder and director of digital strategy at Seer Interactive; Shelton Mercer, cofounder of Audigent and TwitChange and partner at Benjamin’s Desk, and Keith Leaphart, owner of Replica Creative.
  3. The city’s thriving food scene includes Top Chef Kevin Sbraga, owner of elegant Sbraga on South Broad Street and Southern eatery The Fat Ham in University City. There’s Low Country fare and live jazz at SOUTH on North Broad Street. Popular South Street spots include soul food venue Ms. Tootsie’s and Caribbean hangout Jamaican Jerk Hut. In West Philly, foodies find amazing Caribbean fare at the 48th Street Grille and great Ethiopian specialties at Abyssinia, Kaffa Crossing and Dahlak. For dessert, don't skip the pound cake at Denise’s Delicacies in Swampoodle.
  4. Philadelphia’s African-American art scene, whose heritage includes Henry Ossawa Tanner and Horace Pippin, thrives still. Accomplished local artists include Barkley L. Hendricks, Moe Brooker, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Brian Bazemore, Betty Leacraft, Ernel Martinez, Keir Johnston and Odili Donald Odita. Discover more black talent at Manayunk’s October Gallery, a quirky inhabited family artist compound, the Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum and Dupree Studios, both in West Philadelphia, and throughout the city via the Mural Arts Program’s more than 3,800 works, including African-American-inspired standouts Letters of Influence: Henry O. Tanner, North College and Ridge Avenues; Staircases & Mountaintops, 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue; Tribute to Dox Thrash, 16th Street and Girard Avenue.
  5. African-American city leaders include City Council President Darrell Clarke; City Council members Kenyatta Johnson, Janine Blackwell, Curtis Jones, Jr., Cindy Bass, Blondell Reynolds Brown and Cherelle Parker; and Police Commissioner Richard Ross, Jr. The city has had three two-term African-American mayors: Wilson Goode (1984-1992), John Street (2000-2008) and Michael Nutter (2008-2016).

Destination Resources For Media: Press releases about Philadelphia events and happenings, visitor stats, story ideas, high-resolution photos, vantage points and media contacts High-definition b-roll library organized by topic Just-for-media account focused on Philadelphia tourism news

Convention Resource For Media: For all official Democratic National Convention coverage and information

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.


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Related Releases

Mar 6 2018

Aspiring Citizens Get Study Help On Philadelphia's New Americans Trail

Candidates For Citizenship Boost Their Knowledge By Touring Philadelphia’s Historic District

Prepping for the U.S. citizenship test is no small task, but Philadelphia’s self-guided New Americans Tour makes learning easier—and a whole lot more fun. The city contains approximately half the answers to the 100-question citizenship test study. This means aspiring citizens and others students of U.S. history can gain the knowledge they seek simply by visiting Philly’s historic sites and attractions. Best place to start: Philadelphia’s Historic District, the original city—and a very pedestrian-friendly one at that. The trail is available at

Here’s a look at the 20 tour spots:

  1. The African American Museum in Philadelphia, exploring the
Jan 30 2018

Philadelphia Celebrates Black History Month

Exhibitions, Performances and Special Program Highlight Philly’s Month of Activities

Black History Month celebrates its 42nd anniversary this year, and Philadelphia honors the occasion with special events, exhibitions, film screenings and family activities. Philadelphia’s Black History Month features the nation’s longest running African American Children’s Book Fair; Black Pulp!, a new exhibition at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, and Henry “Box” Brown: The Musical, starring Dice Raw. Here are highlights of Philly’s Black History Month:

Museum Happenings:

  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) hosts the regional debut of Black Pulp!, curated by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson. This visual overview offers up printed works by
Jan 19 2018

31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions In 2017

Fact Sheet

Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2017. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk*.

Historical Sites & Attractions:
1. African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP)* – Founded in 1976, AAMP is the first institution in a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The core exhibit Audacious Freedom takes a fresh, bold look at African-Americans’ role in the founding of the nation; other exhibits and programs explore the history, present and future of the African diaspora in the U.S. 701 Arch Street, (215)

May 10 2017

What's In Old City And Along The Delaware River Waterfront?

Two Historic District Neighborhoods Offer Restaurants, Art Galleries, Nightlife, Shopping—And History

Located just next to Independence Mall, where the country’s Founding Fathers declared liberty and built a free nation, Old City, part of Philadelphia’s Historic District, boasts charming cobblestone streets and plenty of 18th-century charm—along with an independent streak that’s evident in everything from its owner-operated shops to its edgy art scene.

Its proximity to the Liberty Bell, Penn’s Landing and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge make Old City a favorite for out-of-towners as much as for the residents who call it home. People love the neighborhood for its fashionable boutiques, great restaurants, eclectic galleries, boundary-pushing theaters and vibrant nightlife.

May 3 2017

Philadelphia's Historic District Gears Up For A Revolutionary Summer

New Museum, New Hotel & New Concert Make The Original City A Must This Summer

The just-opened Museum of the American Revolution brings the United States’ war for independence into today’s consciousness, using rarely seen relics, the original George Washington Headquarters Tent, dozens of arms, uniforms, artifacts, documents and historical vignettes of ordinary Americans to tell the extraordinary story of the nation’s founding. But the new museum isn’t the only reason to visit Philadelphia’s Historic District this summer. The Historic District consists of the Old City, Society Hill and Delaware River Waterfront neighborhoods, extending from the Delaware River to 7th Street and Vine Street to Lombard Street.

The District’s summer lineup of must-do events

May 3 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA's Historic District Campaign Enters Year Two

Visitors Go Beyond The Bell & The Hall To Discover More History, More Fun

The recent opening of the Museum of the American Revolution, art-centric and community-minded programming and an integrated marketing campaign are the highlights of year two of VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s efforts to promote Philadelphia’s Historic District, a vibrant neighborhood that attracts approximately four million visitors annually.

Philadelphia’s Historic District—the original city in the 17th and 18th century—extends from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard Streets. Home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell new and long-established museums, historic houses and interactive storytelling benches, the District is also where America’s founding generation ate, drank,

May 1 2017

The Greater Philadelphia Region: Fast Facts


There are more than 4 million people residing in the five-county region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) and more than 1.5 million in Philadelphia, making it the second-largest city on the East Coast and the sixth-largest city in the country.


Philadelphia is a two-hour drive from New York City, two-and-a-half hours from Washington, DC and 45 minutes from Atlantic City, with convenient access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76, I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike. One-quarter of the U.S. population lives within a five-hour drive of Center City Philadelphia.

The city is a 90-minute flight or a

Apr 21 2017

New–Lots New–This Summer In Philadelphia

Philly Debuts And News Include The Museum Of The American Revolution, Longwood Gardens’ Fountains, An Andrew Wyeth Retrospective, Hall & Oates Festival, So Much More

Philadelphia’s summer is jam-packed with things to do, thanks to new attractions, limited-time displays, major exhibitions and the seasonal happenings that locals and visitors cherish. Highlights: just-opened Museum of the American Revolution and the nation’s most playful LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, an indoor snow playground called Winter: Exclusively at Philadelphia Zoo, a high-tech, $19 million renovation of Longwood Gardens’ main fountains and a concert and festival curated and headlined by Philly’s own Hall & Oates.

Just Opened:

  • LEGOLAND® Discovery Center – Millions of LEGO bricks build the foundation for this creative and fun destination. Perfect for ages 3
Jun 16 2016

Fact Sheet: 31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions

* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2015. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.

Historical Sites & Attractions:

  1. The African American Museum in Philadelphia*, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African