Christopher R. Rogers is an educator and cultural worker from Chester, PA. He serves as Public Programs Director for the Paul Robeson House & Museum, where he has volunteered since 2015. He is a fifth-year doctoral student within the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education where he studies neighborhood storytelling practices in West Philadelphia. He serves on the National Steering Committee for Black Lives Matter at School, supporting movements for racial justice in K-16 education by mapping, indexing, and expanding access to identity-affirming, justice-oriented educational materials. Most recently, he’s been involved in coordinating the Friends of the Henry O. Tanner House, aiming to stabilize and revitalize the North-Philadelphia-set National Historic Landmark honoring the legendary painter whom the Smithsonian notes as the most distinguished African-American artist of the 19th century.
As part of my CPCRS Fellowship, I will extend my ongoing dissertation research which explores the intergenerational ways that West Philadelphia residents express Black personhood and transformative possibility through their multimodal poetics and place-making literacies. I believe that the findings from this study can play an influential role in advancing a resurgent historic preservation praxis within cultural communities threatened by forces of dispossession, displacement, and erasure. Particularly in Black diasporic communities, the oral tradition and platforms for community storytelling have played a central role to sustain attachments to place and grassroots preservation practices. When engaged with care, these strategies unveil key intimate historical moments with implications to advance ongoing social justice organizing.