"Bicentennial City" DocuLab Screening on WHYY

Saturday, July 3, 2021
9:00 PM - 10:00 PM (ET)
Event Type
Weissinger, James R
Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities

The Hurford Center / VCAM Summer DocuLab project “Bicentennial City” makes its television debut this July on Philadelphia PBS affiliate WHYY!

A portrait of untold stories from the 1976 Bicentennial in Philadelphia. Though the city ultimately hosted over two million people, the 4th of July weekend suffered from overblown expectations. In the wake of the Vietnam War and complicated by the provincial policies of the controversial mayor Frank Rizzo, the celebrations represented the promise of redeeming the economically troubled city. But it laid bare some pressing questions of America’s national identity. This essay film charts the struggles behind years of planning as it also spotlights the city as a place of resilient communal activity.

"The essay film models democracy as it explores it. This is the best of Philly talking about our worst with dry eyes and care and curiosity. Phila-futurism.” --Lorene Cary, novelist and playwright

Featured interviews include Public Historian Kenneth Finkel, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, Pennsylvania Folk Life Festival Coordinator (1976) Ann Mintz, Independent Historian Francis W. Hoeber, Community Activist Mary Yee, Urban Historian Nathaniel Popkin, Artist and Educator Leroy Johnson, Jeweler and IMPresario Henri David, and Supreme Court Principal Justice Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation Rev. J. R. Norwood.


Directed by Thomas Devaney, Matthew Suib, and Aaron Igler. Produced by Haverford College's Hurford Center/VCAM DocuLab Program: Hilary Brashear, Julia Coletti, Jixin Jia, Teddy Ogborn, Cole Sansom, and Grace Sue.


Bicentennial City will air on WHYY on Saturday, July 3rd at 9 PM EST. The program will be available to stream for 30 days starting Friday, July 2nd at https://video.whyy.org/show/whyy-presents/,  as well as on the PBS and Roku apps. Learn more about the project at https://doculabs.haverford.edu/bicentennial/the-bicentennial-in-philadelphia/

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