Jada Elder-Wilkerson

Temple University at Philadelphia

Honorable Mention

Anchell Scholarship for Documentary Photography

Hood: The Youth's Perspective on Gentrification

“Hood: The Youth's Perspective on Gentrification” is a series of photographs taken during interviews with three Philadelphia youths during the summer of 2016. With the rise of various university housing and apartment complexes in the city, many inhabitants of neighborhoods that have housed primarily African Americans for generations are being pushed out by increasing taxes. Seeing as that property is the primary way of transferring wealth generationally, a discussion needed to take place about the tremendous hurdle gentrification places in front of these families. The student interviewed were David Jones, a senior at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High school from the Mill Creek area, Amore Hannah, a Junior at Columbia College Chicago from City Line Avenue, and Christian Warrick, a University of Pennsylvania sophomore living in Mantua. As David Jones described the increased police presence around his block since the influx of white millennials moving into the complex across the street, we see the drastic contrast of public property within blocks of each other.  Christian’s interview included him fondly remembering friends that once lived alongside him in “The Bottom”, who were unable to keep up with the sharp tax increases. Amore Hannah gave her views on the flipside of the issue, being an African American who recently moved to a predominantly white neighborhood. While walking through the streets of the fluent outskirts of the city, she reflects on how her move had no major changes to the fabric of the neighborhood, unlike the opposite situations.  Though each youth interviewed was distinct and had unique feelings about the changes taking place  around their childhood homes, race, police activity, respect, poverty, and jobs were a common theme. As we walked through the new businesses that popped up as Drexel University expanded its campus housing into Mantua, Christian Warrick expressed his displeasure with the businesses taking up space in the neighborhood, but not hiring the people who lived there. These photographs capture a simple dialogue between youth on an extremely complex issue. Though there are seldom chances for youth to discuss these concerns, the intense focus and sincerity on their faces makes it clear that this topic affects them deeply.