Last year as a result of the dedication of the Philadelphia Legacies family we were able to safely pull off an in-person Legacy dinner outside of Aksum Restaurant on the last warm day of fall. It was an intimate affair with Sam Reed’s band streaming his wondrous music down the West Philly sidewalk. It was nice to be together to celebrate Philadelphia icons during such a strange time in American history.
Now that we are entering our sixth year, we are looking to those who have been supportive so far to help us grow in our mission of celebrating dedicated seasoned problem solvers while at the same time collaborating to help solve problems we face today. At our 2021 kickoff and networking dinner a number of housing projects found sponsors and Jay Bagly shared that a connection he met at another networking dinner ended up with 1300 computers being donated to the community. These things are done in an effort to create a positive culture in the city we love.
This year our portrait award winners truly made historical marks by helping us understand with more clarity who we are and where we fit into the history of the world and our relationship to it: Dr. Molefi K. Asante who started his career as one of the innovators in the emerging field of communications then started the first African American doctorate program in the country over thirty years ago which is still going strong and has taken on the name Afrocology. Dr. Asante himself has changed the perception of history and has helped Africa take its rightful place in history. James G. Spady was a writer and historian diligently who did his own scholarship work outside of the academy consistently unearthed new information had his media and publishing outlets for releasing this information.
Emma Chapelle was the founder and CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia and the first African American woman to form a commercial bank in the United States. Also, the first female vice president of a major bank in the state of Pennsylvania, she believed that to understand the community one must understand banking. Emma was the treasurer for the Jesse Jackson presidential Campaign which was the precursor for the successful presidential run of President Barack Obama. Emma later had great economic influence in Africa after being appointed as a board member of the Southern African Enterprise Development Fund by President Bill Clinton. Jannie Blackwell comes from and is an important force in the longest running political family legacy in Philadelphia history. Jannie has been a tireless worker for the people. Jannie still works hard for homeless people, the community, and is working on her ten-year project to build Philadelphia’s first Africa Town. Hall of Fame basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer rounds out the 2021 Portrait Award recipients.
This year the Lifetime Achievement Award honors Dr. Diane Turner, curator of the historical Charles L. Blockson Collection at Temple University and our Young Person To Watch Award goes to Jabari Jones, President of the West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative and recipient of three 2021 40 Under 40 awards.
Philadelphia Legacies’ 2021 Community Leadership Awardees are: Odunde’s Oshunbumi Fernandez, Shelah McMillan of the Black Doctors Consortium, Award-winning Activist and Spoken Word Artist Ivy Staten-Minor, Beauty Industry Leader and Small Business Advocate Ann Turner, and North Philadelphia Community Advocate Danita Bates.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals, continue to share our great Philadelphia legacies, and support non-profits combating poverty.