Late Chester Historian, John Whittington, talks to humanities summer camp teens about Chester's Civil Rights History.

Chester Made honors John Whittington who shared his stories with campers and inspired many to bravely follow their dreams. His contributions to the Chester Made Project will always be remembered.

Two teens from the Summer Humanities Camp smile as they read about the history of their city.

After gathering the stories of local eyewitnesses and diving into the archives at the Delaware County Historical Society, campers brought history to life in a multidisciplinary presentation they created to shed light on the dramatic and the day-to-day aspects of Chester’s intriguing past. They explored various forms of creative expression and worked with artists including Devon Walls, Laindia Santos-Philips, and Lisa Cocciarale.  Below are some of their monologues.

Teens write their own monologue about the stories they've heard at Chester Made summer humanities camp.

I was talking to my teacher the other day. He said that he had to go to court and he would be out for a few days. I asked him why and he said school business. He explained to me that people were protesting for basic rights for [people with] my skin color. I’m glad that he told me he was a part of that protest, but it’s sad that we don’t get the same privileges as others. I said I wanted to go with Mr. Branche, but he said I was too young. -Sam

Summer Humanities Camp teen reads her monologue aloud.

I am a mother of a child enrolled in school. The conditions of the school are unsatisfactory and impractical. It is unfair to my kid to have to get an education that is not up to par with the other kids. I and other parents are protesting in front of Delaware County Courthouse. I want my kid to learn in an environment that is suitable and effective. Right now I am thinking if this will ever work. Will my child ever learn in a school that is actually going to teach them something useful? I fear that my voice will be looked over by everyone and always live the same life.


I was just peacefully protesting for civil rights walking down the street and I saw a lot of white police officers running with their sirens on and pull their batons out. Three of the police officers started to beat me. I tried my best to fight back but they kept on beating me for no reason and I slowly tried to escape but they were in my way. All I wanted was equality.

2017 Humanities Summer Camp teens perform a presentation they created based off of inspiring stories heard throughout the week.

”Won’t turn back!” I yelled along with the rest of the crowd on a cold winter day. My hands freezing from holding up the sign with bold capital letters that read, “POOR HOUSING, NO JOBS, AT LEAST GIVE US A GOOD SCHOOL.” Thoughts in my head thinking is all this protesting worth it? Will it give me what I want? Should we all just give up? But no, I can’t give up, and I won’t. Only thing that’s in my way is the hateful white folks and I know in the end there will be good. Good always outshines the bad. I’m optimistic that one day my people will be treated as we should. I’m gonna keep fighting, day, night, even if it kills me. 

Photo credit: Greg Irvin

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