Reimagining Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward Through Poetry
- Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 87, Number 1, Winter 2020
- pp. 192-202
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article discusses how poetry helped a digital history project go public. In the spring of 2018 Messiah College's Center for Public Humanities began hosting poetry workshops for Harrisburg middle school students that focused on the vanished community of the Old Eighth Ward. With the help of the 1910 federal census data accessible through the Digital Harrisburg website, students engaged this little-known history of their hometown through field trips followed by poetry workshops. As students imagined the world through the lens of a person in the Old Eighth Ward, they drew on their own experiences and imagination. Published and performed for diverse audiences in different venues, these poems invite a wider public to rethink the City Beautiful movement as they reimagine the once vibrant community.