Question of the Week
South Philly Kaleidoscope: The 9th Street Market Mural
This lesson is part of a suite of lesson plans associated with PhilaPlace, that explores the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. This unit reolves around the physical and social meeting place of ethnic cultures in an urban setting. Particularly, the unit discusses the erection of a mural wall located on 9th street in downtown Philadelphia. The unit explores, through discussion, direct isntruction and the creation of personal wall murals, how different cultures can use a physical space to incorporate different traditions and beliefs to create a new, more singular entity. At the same time, historical periods are discussed (the Lombard and Kensington Street Riots) that showcase the opposite effect - ethnic tensions building to a climax not of cultural fusion, but of violence. Overall, this unit and its encompassing lesson ask students to deconstruct the ways we explore our own culture and how we meld it with others.
- Textual evidence, material artifacts, the built environment, and historic sites are central to understanding the history of Pennsylvania.
- Comprehension of the experiences of individuals, society, and how past human experience has adapted builds aptitude to apply to civic participation.
- Analyze the interaction of cultural, economic, geographic, political, and social relations for a specific time and place.
- Contrast multiple perspectives of individuals and groups in interpreting other times, cultures, and place.
- Articulate the context of a historical event or action.
Background Material for Teacher
Golab, Caroline. “The Immigrant and the City: Poles, Italians, and Jews in Philadelphia, 1870-1920.” In The Peoples of Philadelphia: A History of Ethnic Groups and Lower Class Life, 1790-1940. edited by Allen F. Davis and mark H. Haller. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1973.
End of Unit Assessment
Students will create their own contribution to the South Philly Mural representing their own cultural ethnicity, beliefs, etc, by using a blank piece of white paper and drawing their own mural. Their additions must fit the theme of the mural already established. Ask that they sketch it on one side of the paper, and on the other, write a short paragraph explaining both what the mural is and why they chose to draw it. In order to receive full credit, student must use examples from other murals they studied during the unit, referencing how they came to create their own and what it might symbolize about their own cultural heritage.
Plans in this Unit
PA Core Standard
PhilaPlace has been designated as a We the People project by the NEH
- The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, through the Heritage Philadelphia Program
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services
- The National Endowment for the Humanities
- The Connelly Foundation
- The Pennsylvania Department of Education
- The Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Federal-State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities
- The Samuel S. Fels Fund
- The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation
- The Walter J. Miller Foundation
- Corporate Sponsor: Southwest Airlines
About the Author
This lesson was created by Jennifer Coval and revised by Marc Brasof. Updated for SAS by Ethan Fried, Education Intern, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.