THE HARTRANFT BASKETBALL COURT REVIVAL
“You love to hear the story again and again
of how it all got started way back when
The monument is right in your face
Sit and listen for a while to the name of the place…”
MC Shan, The Bridge (1987)
This legendary opening verse — of one of the most important rap songs made during the Golden Era of Hip-Hop — names key figures in the formative days of rap music, figures you would only know if you were there, first hand. The making of this project, both in sight and sound, felt like this.
Our story begins way before Hip-Hop, before the chiseled “1973” keystone was set into the community center, and involves many more amazing people than our walls could allow.
Welcome to the monument of our living story. The place might change but the names will stay the same. We say those legendary names loudly, proudly. They’re with us, and now, with you…
— Shawn Theodore
Galleries Photographs by Shawn Theodore
“Before the arts community came through, there were just four of us, four guys carrying the weight of the whole league,” said Eric Bennefield, one of the basketball coaches in Hartranft, who contributed photos for the display. “But this exhibit has encouraged a lot more people to get involved with the playground. It got a lot of people talking about the neighborhood.”
Generocity: “The Village of Arts and Humanities turned recorded interviews into a civic engagement tool”
“I hope the impact of it might be that people will continue to be activated about creating programming on the court and giving kids in the neighborhood a super positive place to be,” Ziegler added — like how the community’s older members remember it. The new courts are “very literally a new beginning for that space.”
“It wasn’t a restoration, rehabilitation, or recreation.
Thursday’s uplifting, spirited event on the previously unfurnished playground adjacent to John F. Hartranft School in North Philadelphia was – in the truest sense – a revival.
After experiencing its fair share of ups and downs, frustrations, and pain in recent years, the proud, resilient Hartranft community got to celebrate the anticipated ribbon-cutting of a fresh, new basketball court, located between 7th and 9th Streets, on Cumberland Street.”
Sixers Assist Basketball Court Renovation At Hartranft Recreation Center. Ukee Washington reports.