Eastwick Oral History Project: Earl Wilson

Title

Eastwick Oral History Project: Earl Wilson

Subject

The Eastwick Oral History Project documents the rich history and complex cultural life of Eastwick — a vibrant community in Southwest Philadelphia. The neighborhood’s history is marked by deep connections to the landscape and waterways, as well as experiences of displacement and environmental injustice.The Eastwick Oral History Project, operated by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, documents the legacies and changes of the neighborhood through interviews with lifelong residents, long-time residents, and others who are engaged in community advocacy around Eastwick’s future.

Creator

Eastwick Oral History Project

Story

"I became interested because of the fact that I wanted to make sure that I participated in the kind of environment in which I would like to raise my two sons. And as a result of that, I got involved with the Eastwick PAC, which is a community organization that is supposed to represent the umbrella group for a number of different neighbors, neighborhood community groups, became involved in that and from that point on have been involved in Eastwick to this very day."

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Earl Wilson

The Eastwick Oral History Project documents the rich history and complex cultural life of Eastwick — a vibrant community in Southwest Philadelphia in the midst of a public land planning process. The oral history project is a close collaboration between the Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities. We are also grateful for the support of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.

Members of EFNC are community activists and leaders who advocate for environmental, economic, and social sustainability for Eastwick. From the early 1950s, Eastwick was the site of attempted urban renewal-as-spectacle on the part of Philadelphia’s city hall. Following the flooding of Hurricanes Connie and Diane in 1955 shaped by the industrial landscapes surrounding the marshy, semi-rural neighborhood, the community was designated a blight, with thousands of acres turned over to public-private redevelopment projects that displaced thousands of residents from what was once Philadelphia’s most integrated neighborhood. Neighboring wedges of the mouth of the Schuylkill have been cut off to expand Philadelphia’s airport and the massive oil refinery complex, while runoff from unlicensed dumps led to an EPA Superfund designation on neighborhood’s western edge. Since 2012, EFNC's community-leadership has organized to support community empowerment in decisions of the neighborhood’s future.



Citation

Eastwick Oral History Project, “Eastwick Oral History Project: Earl Wilson,” Schuylkill River & Urban Waters Research Corps Archive, accessed October 22, 2018, http://schuylkillcorps.org/items/show/4.

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