Democracy and the Informed Citizen: A Tale of Two Cities

How do journalists, historians, grassroots organizations, and residents all contribute to telling a community's story and motivating meaningful change? What are the challenges communities face in sustaining a sense of place while also welcoming new members and exploring new opportunities—in ways that are inclusive of our differences and shared humanity?

Our civic engagement partners Chester Made and Greater Carlisle Heart & Soul will address these questions and more this fall and winter, telling A Tale of Two Cities through a series of programs and activities as part of the national Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative.


Steven Hahn

Chester: Whose History Is It, Anyway?

How do we tell a Chester history that includes and respects what is true for every group in the city? 

Across many places and times, people have battled to advance narratives that give them ownership over reality and resources. This is no different in Chester where people from different backgrounds overtly and covertly fight for legitimacy and power through storytelling.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2018,  Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Hahn presented a talk on the importance of telling stories of "glory" parallel to stories of "gory." He was joined by WURD 900AM show host Eric "Brother Shomari" Grimes, social research activist Julie Rainbow, and Widener historian Jordan B. Smith for a panel discussion on how we accept, reconcile and synthesize these types of contradictions.

This program was hosted by Chester Made, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and Delaware County Historical Society. 


Jacqueline Jones. Photo by Larry D. Moore.

Save the Dates - February 19 and 21 in Carlisle

Greater Carlisle Heart & Soul and Cumberland County Historical Society will produce two events in February.

During "Reconnecting the Histories of Our Community" on February 19, panel participants will discuss how we remember, record and tell the story of our community, and ways we can use stories to strengthen a community and reconcile past narratives. 

Jacqueline Jones, social historian at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak about her research and Pulitzer Prize-nominated book "A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America" on February 21.  

Stay tuned for additional details.


About Democracy and the Informed Citizen

These programs are part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry.

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.



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