Opera Philadelphia

The Un/Sung Stories of We Shall Not Be Moved

By Aubrey Nagle

As part of the final year of Hip H'opera, an after school arts immersion program offered in collaboration with Art Sanctuary, students researched and studied the contextual elements which form the backdrop of Daniel Bernard Roumain and Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s new opera We Shall Not Be Moved: the 1985 Police bombing of MOVE headquarters and the 2013 Philadelphia school closures.

Hip H'opera student Jalen Mitchell, an alum and recent graduate of Mastery Charter School, Lenfest, has created an astounding collection of oral histories following the events of the 1985 MOVE bombing and the 2013 Philadelphia school closures. Jalen worked hard to research, prepare questions, interview, and film his conversations with those affected by these events so that others may learn from their stories.

Jalen presented his oral histories on Saturday, September 9, 2017, alongside a line-up of spoken word poets curated by Lyrispect, at the African American Museum in Philadelphia to a standing-room-only crowd. The videos feature MOVE members Ramona and Sue Africa; South Philadelphia High School alum Kynan Chambers; Councilwoman at Large Helen Gym; Art Sanctuary Executive Director Valerie Gay; Philadelphia educator Barbara Keating; and Rosemary Morgan, a retired employee of the Philadelphia Department of Corrections.

Special thanks to Dr. Abigail Perkiss, Keane University and Janine Spruill, Lil’ Filmmakers. Hip H’opera is an after school collaboration between Art Sanctuary and Opera Philadelphia. Videography by Jalen Mitchell. Video post-production by Lil’ Filmmakers.

Check out Jalen's work below.

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