Browse Exhibits (25 total)
Enitan “Enni” Aigbomian (b.1992) was born in Lagos, Nigeria to a family of six. When she was five, her mother moved to the United States. Three years later, Enitan was ecstatic when she was able to rejoin her in the United States. Life in Queens, New York, and then in the suburbs of Philadelphia, however, presented challenges as well as opportunities. As a teenager, Enitan battled to find her own unique identity as both a Nigerian and an American.
Gilda Cemi Cetrullo (b. 1903) was 17 when she left Abruzzi, Italy, to join her parents in Philadelphia. In her 1982 interview Cetrullo talked about her life in Italy and the United States, including her long separation from her family, her first impressions of Philadelphia, her education and work experiences, life as an illegal immigrant in the U.S., and raising a family.
At the end of World War I, an especially deadly strain of influenza swept across the United States and the world, taking tens of millions of lives. Within weeks of its arrival in Philadelphia, the city's hospitals and mortuaries were overrun with the sick and the dead. Influenza claimed the lives of 675,000 Americans, including 12,200 in Philadelphia, which experienced the greatest losses of any American city.
The daughter of two doctors, Irina Melekhina (b. 1965) met her husband Aleksandr, who was Jewish, in dental school. Hoping for a better life and benefitting from refugee status, the Melekhinas left the Soviet Union in 1991 with their infant daughter. After Irina's husband finished dental school in New York, the Melekinas moved to Philadelphia, where they continue to run their own dentistry practice. In her interview, Melekhina talks about growing up in the Soviet Union, mandatory military training, and their harrowing flight to the United States on the same day that hard liners marched into Moscow to overthrow the government of Mikhail Gorbachov.
Born in 1991, Isatu Kallon grew up in Sierra Leone during its violent Civil War. Raised with her three sisters by her grandmother after her mother moved to the United States in the late 1990s, she was brought by her mother to Philadelphia in 2013. In February 2019, Isatu became an American citizen while majoring in Social Work at West Chester University.
John "Herb" Rudolph (b. 1901), worked at the Stetson factory in North Philadelphia for forty-nine years. In his 1982 oral history interview Rudolph provided a first-hand account of the changing nature of factory work and of the American hat industry from his hiring in 1917 to his last day in 1966.
When he graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1925, John Calpin (1904-1991) became a police reporter for The Philadelphia Bulletin. There, he witnessed first hand the impact of Prohibition on the city of Philadelphia and the vast power of the Republican City Machine. In the decades that followed, Calpin would go on to become a newspaper bureau chief and civic reformer.
Born in the tough Irish-American neighborhood of Grays Ferry, John Flynn learned how to fight at a young age, started to work full time at the age of 14, and soon was part of a gang that hung out in Philadelphia's infamous Tenderloin District on the north side of Center City. During the labor wars of the Great Depression, Flynn was a union organizer for Teamsters Local 107 and worked as a longshoreman, circular distributor, and in other jobs.
After immigrating from Scotland to Philadelphia in 1922, Johnny Mulligan boxed professionally, danced with the Irish Merrymakers, and played striker for the Electric Storage Battery Company's industrial league soccer team.
Growing up in a religiously, ethnic, and culturally diverse community in Baghdad, Iraq, Malka Al Saadi (b. 1941) became a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist, and a department head at Saddam College of Medicine. Mutaz Al Mudaris (b. 1973), her second son, became an agricultural engineer, and having learned English as a child in Great Britain, also worked as a translator for Iraqi Youth TV. Forced to flee to Jordan because of threats against their lives during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, they immigrated to the United States in 2009. In this inervuew they talk about their lives in Iraq through three wars, the collapse of their homeland after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and their new lives in Philadelphia, which reminds them of Baghdad.