Academics seek unabridged history of Phila.

    A group of scholars and leaders of community groups is gathering today to re-write the history of Philadelphia. The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is still in the planning stages – it is meant to be an expanding online document with user-generated entries.

    A group of scholars and leaders of community groups is gathering today to re-write the history of Philadelphia. The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is still in the planning stages – it is meant to be an expanding online document with user-generated entries.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090417pchistory.mp3]

    At first it sounds like a local version of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia written by anybody and everybody. But the content in the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia will be monitored by scholars.

    One of them is Randall Miller, a history professor at St. Joseph’s University. Miller says the project will also bring together a wide variety of community groups.

    Miller: It’s a civic project – getting people to think about their place, who’s here, and how do they interact with each other. It’s a civic project that creates a sense of community because that’s one of the things that history can do if it’s integrative, etc.

    Randall says community groups can change how history is memorialized. He says that’s what happened with the President’s House memorial on Independence Mall, which has been altered to reflect the presence of slaves in the first White House.

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