Hidden History: Black Scranton Project 2020

Hidden History

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Glynis Johns started the Scranton Black Project in 2019.

   She wanted to ensure the History of African Americans In Scranton would not be forgotten.

  Since then…her Scranton Black Project has grown creating new history for the Electric City.

    Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller caught up Glynis as she continues to celebrate the History Of Black Scrantonians

Glynis Johns, Founder of the Black Scranton Project says, “Most if not all of the black community was living in the downtown area.”

She adds, “I think it’s important to talk about race effectively.”

She helps do that by displaying photographs, articles, and artwork that explains the black experience in her native Scranton.

Glynis johns says, “They’re all like from between 1905 to about 1930.”

Some of the display is racially charged — like offensive postcards and a salt and pepper shaker. But much of what you see is rich in African American accomplishment in the Electric City.

Glynis johns says, “That’s where that building was.” Showing us part of the exhibit.

The exhibit brings back from its first year a tribute to an early 20th century Scranton widow who turned a modest hauling business into a huge success. It again acknowledges a 19th century all African American fire company. But there’s also the new.

Glynis johns says, “He was like a beast but in the best kind of way.”

A returning exhibit expands on the life of James “Chimsey” Williams — a 20th century, Scranton-born record-holding powerlifter turned author. His book, “Northern Fried Chicken” is considered a historical adventure into Scranton’s black community. 

Travis Prince says, “I think I put about 150 hours into this painting here.”

Some paintings from artist and Black Scranton Project Creative Director Travis Prince are also new. The South Carolina native has made Northeastern Pennsylvania his home.

“I’m learning just as much as anyone else from the Black Scranton Project. This history is phenomenal.

I just want to add to it and add more culture and more significant impact on our community” said Travis Price, Artist/Creative Director, Black Scranton Project

Staking a claim in that community is what Johns says “Black Scranton Project” is all about.

“We don’t call the Irish Society of Scranton racist, do we? No, because it represents an identity of culture in a community and they also are very open to inviting the community to all of their events and all of their initiatives and I think The Black Scranton Project is doing the same thing.” Said Glynis. Adding 
It’s going to continue to grow.”

Learn More about Black Scranton Project

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/BlackScranton/

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