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Campbell AME Cemetery One Step Closer

At the Zoom hearing on the 19th January 2022, the Nomination of the African Burial Ground of Frankford, located at 1651 Kinsey Street at Campbell AME Church was approved by the Committee for Historic Designation.

The Zoom Meeting was recorded and can be watched.  Campbell is discussed at 2 hours and 16 minutes into the recording.

The next hearing will be in February where the final decision is made.

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Frankford Stories

Frankford Stories

Reflections on life in a Philadelphia Neighborhood

Our new book Frankford Stories is out today, available on Amazon at this link.  It’s available in print and also as an ebook and if you have Kindle Unlimited, its free.

This is the second in the Frankford series, following Frankford HeroesFrankford People will be out later this year.

This is a collection of stories published in the Gazette going back to 2010.  I had a good time reading them again as I put this collection together.  There is a lot of humor and some nostalgia, mixed with a bit of some of the not so good.  They are all interesting from the best story tellers from Frankford.

If you live in or have lived in Frankford or if you have roots in Frankford in generations past if you grew up in Philadelphia or any other big city, you will enjoy this book.

To the authors: Al Houston, Joe Menkevich, Jack Hohenstein, Julia (Robinson) Mitchell-Hoffman, Lyle Larkin, Peter Dawson, Terry Rowley, Tony Wilkerson, and William Mastropieri;  I’ll get your copy to you as soon as I can receive  them from the printer.

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I’m in the jungle of confusion, in the valley of frustration, in a world with no direction.
Looking at the hands on a clock thinking they will never stop, why can’t we figure this out?
You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
Can life be that uncertain, that we can’t figure this out?

Look around, time is running out. Can’t you see people are leaving that knew they had the answer.
They’re not here because they took their chances, not believing that what we’re dealing with is for real.
Because everybody thinks they have the answer.

Should I go or should I stay, should I wait, or should I delay my plans for the future?
Not knowing which way to go, trying to take it very slow, but that’s not the answer.
This situation has us so uptight; we don’t know if we should go left or we should go right.
So, when you go to bed tonight, I hope you figure it out – before you turn off the light – there must be an answer.


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Campbell AME Cemetery Recognized

Joe Menkevich just informed me that the Burial Ground at Campbell AME Church at 1651 Kinsey Street has been approved by the staff of the Philadelphia Historical Commission to be included on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

A hearing (for Approval) will be held by the Committee on Historic Designation, January 19, 2022, 9:30 a.m.

To watch/listen to and speak during the remote meetings live on Zoom using your computer, tablet, or smartphone, click on the following links:


Passcode: 888960

(If approved on Jan 19th 2022,  a second hearing will be held by the Historical Commission on February 11th .

Campbell AME Church

Joe has been researching Frankford for years and gathered all the evidence and presented it to the Commission last year.

Joe includes much of Frankford history that is not well known within his nomination document.  One of the most interesting stories to me is the story of Billy Brown who was one of the first Trustees of Campbell AME Church.

 John Fanning Watson, a nineteenth-century collector, chronicler, and historian interviewed one William (Billy) Brown, who was a Trustee of the Campbell:

“1825 — Billy Brown, a black man, of Frankford, was seen by me in his 93d (born about 1732) year of age — he lived about two years afterwards. He was of the African race, taken a prisoner (in Africa) when a lad, leaving his parents and five brethren; and was two years before reaching the coast and being sold.

I found him quite intelligent, his memory good, and himself a pious, good man. He was then the husband of a young wife, by whom he had children, the youngest then 16 years old.

What made him most interesting; he had been at Braddock’s defeat, as servant to Colonel Brown of the Irish regiment. There he remembered and described to me the conduct of Washington in that action — how he implored Braddock for leave to fight the Indians in their own way, with 300 of his own men, and how he was repulsed with disdain.

He was afterwards at the death of General Wolfe, and near his person, still with Colonel Brown; thence went to the attack of Havana; thence, at the peace, to Ireland, with his master, who there set him free by a vessel going to Philadelphia.

There he was fraudulently conveyed to Virginia and sold — became the slave of one Wiley, who was extremely cruel to him — lost some of his fingers and toes by severe exposure — was bought by General Washington, and was his slave during all the Revolution, at his estate at the Long Meadows.

Finally, free at Frankford; since died, and made happy in a better world.”

4 “…I have full confidence in the words of Billy as far as they went, because he seemed incapable of intentional fraud, and was beside a religious man, of the Methodist profession; but above all, he had been in after life seven years a servant with General Washington, and that circumstance must have more deeply impressed the facts as they were…5

This amazing man is part of Frankford history. Thanks to Joe this story and the others included in the nomination will now be known.

You can read it all at this link.  It’s well worth your time.  Thanks to Joe Menkevich.

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First Date


I remember the first day we met, it was on a Sunday how can I forget.
You walked past me smelling like a rose.
I stopped and I looked, and you gave me a pose.
You stood there looking so dignified, in those black stockings running down your thighs,
Fingernails the color of pure gold, a small diamond protruding from your nose.
From that moment I thought it was fate, so I asked you for a date.
You looked at me and rolled your eyes, like this was some kind of surprise.
But I can still see the twinkle in your eyes. even though I may be running late,
I still remember our very first date. It was on a Sunday afternoon, now we’re on our honeymoon, and I still remember you smelling like a rose,
That day you stopped – looked at me, gave me a pose, then rolled your eyes.