A Chester Story sheds light on how Chester made what Chester has become—and the now unfolding story of how a small downtown outside Philly is revitalizing itself through arts, humanities, and local entrepreneurship. More than 50 people were interviewed for this landmark and classic tale of Chester's Black community. The packed screening with 130 in the audience was followed by a panel discussion of artists and interviewees involved in the film production. They reflected on how things have changed, how they have stayed the same, and how this story is and can be used in all attempts to uplift the narrative of this city.

Ulysses walks up the aisle while facilitating a conversation with the crowd

Chester Made Project Manager Ulysses Slaughter prepped the crowd for the documentary experience they were about to witness. Being produced over ten years ago, the film had some historical references that were important to point out, including influential people in Chester history and landmarks that are no longer how they were during the film.

This movie is an unvarnished slice of Chester history from some of the eyewitnesses to the history of Chester. THEY are usually the experts. –MLK Day screening participant

Chester Story panel sitting on stage at MJ Freed Theater

Following the screening, there was a panel discussion featuring interviewees from the film. On the panel were Devon Walls and Ulysses’ son, Khalil Slaughter, who helped with the filming of the documentary. Each one reflected on the state of their community and the interconnectivity of Chester blight and racial discrimination on many levels.

Audience members were then given the chance to make comments and ask questions of the film producers and interviewees. While many of the questions asked brought us more issues Chester needs to overcome, many gave feedback about being grateful these types of discussions were happening and believing the Chester Made movement is a step in the right direction.

Chester Story participant offers a question to the panel

What I enjoyed most was probably the opportunity to personally connect with and hear perspectives from so many people…What challenged me most was hearing what people thought about the documentary during the discussion time. The questions, the wrestling, the ideas, were all very thought provoking. I learned that I have to listen more. –MLK Day screening participant

Chester Story panel poses in front if MJ Freed Theater

I’ve seen a big change over here since the Chester Made project started…You see a lot of things happening that I’m happy to see. People opening up businesses that weren’t there. It makes me happy. Because one time I was losing faith in this city, but now I’m starting to have a little more faith and see a lot of changes right here in the block. –MLK Day screening participant

This event attracted much attention and was well covered by the media, including an editorial in the Delaware County Daily Times and on The Stefan Roots Blog

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