Philadelphia

How to Support the Black Community in Philly Right Now

From nonprofits and community organizations to restaurants and bookstores.

Philadelphia Printworks
Philadelphia Printworks
Philadelphia Printworks

Philly would be nothing without its local boutiques, restaurants, arts organizations, and cultural hotspots-and, of course, Black-owned businesses are essential to this diverse social fabric. As the city and country come face-to-face with racial bias and injustice, it’s important to let that momentum propel us through 2021 and beyond. 

“A lot of people are buying How to Be an Antiracist, which I’m glad about, but I want people to mix that up with some of the classics,” says Jeannine A. Cook, owner of Fishtown bookstore Harriett’s Bookshop, which celebrates female artists and activists doing work to promote social injustice. “Harriet Tubman laid the blueprint on how to think about community organizing, and those same skills and strategies from way back when are still relevant today. Malcolm X was going to bring the U.S. to the international court for the same issues, like police brutality. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to pick up where our ancestors left off.”

From bookstores to wellness boutiques, here are the Black-owned Philly businesses worthy of your hard-earned dollars.

Flickr/Informed Images
Flickr/Informed Images
Flickr/Informed Images

Donate to nonprofits and community organizations

The Philadelphia Bail Fund is a revolving fund that posts bail for people who cannot afford it-especially people of color. The nonprofit is standing in solidarity with those currently demanding an end to police violence against Black communities, providing direct bail assistance to Philadelphia protesters. Similarly, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, a sibling of the Philadelphia Bail Fund, is another community organization that posts bail for Philadelphians in need. Other organizations that provide legal aid like Up Against The Law Legal Collective and the Amistad Law Project are worthy causes for your donations. 

The Philadelphia Black Giving Circle is based on the idea that when you give collectively, your dollars have greater impact. It aims to leverage resources from diverse donors to support Black-led, Black-serving organizations in Philadelphia, like the African Family Health Organization and Mill Creek Farm. The Pennsylvania branch of the ACLU engages in advocacy, education, and litigation to preserve and promote civil liberties, while 100 Black Men Philadelphia is committed to the intellectual development of youth.

The 52nd Street Commercial Corridor, a historically Black-owned business district where much of the civil unrest has occurred, is in need of support. The Enterprise Center, an organization supporting minority entrepreneurs, will work with community members and local advocates on cleanup and business revitalization efforts. You can sign up for community cleanups, rebuilding projects, to offer help with marketing or design, and provide monetary donations. Follow them on social platforms for updates on community events.

Franny Lou's Porch
Franny Lou’s Porch
Franny Lou’s Porch

Order takeout and delivery from restaurants and bars  

Philadelphia boasts a diverse food scene, with many Black-owned restaurants to support. There’s soul food offerings at SOUTH Kitchen and Jazz Bar, Tasties Soul Food, and JD’s Soul Food Kitchen. Saba Tedla’s Booker’s Restaurant and Bar serves classic American fare with Southern influences, while her other restaurant, Aksum draws inspiration from Mediterranean cuisine. For unparalleled Ethiopian, you must try Abyssnia, Gojjo, and Era Bar and Restaurant, all available for takeout or outdoor dining. And for plant-based fare don’t miss Veganish, Nourish, Callowhill Greens Coffee Bar, and Night Owl Vegan.

Franny Lou’s Porch is a snug cafe with a social message. Named after activist Fanny Lou Hamer and abolitionist Frances E.W. Harper, this spot serves to build community through local, organic food. Items on the menu are vehicles for advocacy, with sandwiches taking on names like “The Anti-Oppression.” 

If cold weather has you thinking about the Caribbean, dig into the jerk chicken and oxtails at Reggae Reggae Vibes on Girard Avenue. For curried goat and Jamaican beef patties, look no further than 48th Street Grille. Get all your favorite dishes delivered right to your door through local delivery service Black and Mobile, the first Black-owned food delivery service in the country to exclusively deliver for Black-owned restaurants.

Philadelphia Printworks
Philadelphia Printworks
Philadelphia Printworks

Feed your curiosity through literature

“Knowledge, information, understanding — those are the things that are going to push us through this,” says Jeannine A. Cook, owner of Harriet’s Bookshop, a Fishtown bookstore which celebrates women authors, artists, and activists. During the pandemic, Harriet’s is hosting sidewalk shops starting at noon Thursdays through Sundays. During the protests following the death of George Floyd, Cook and some students took to City Hall to deliver free copies of Harriett Tubman and Malcolm X biographies.

“I thought the one thing we could do to actually create change at the moment-as opposed to just holding a sign-is to provide literature,” Cook says. “If people want to educate themselves, then I want to fill that gap, making sure they get that information. There is not greater joy in my life.”

Get that information at places like Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books, which is owned by Temple University professor and activist, Marc Lamont Hill, and is part living room, part library, and part cafe. Ariell Johnson became the first Black woman to run a comic book store on the East Coast and Amalgam Comics and Coffee House has garnered national media attention for its commitment to representation and inclusion, with Black female heroes at the center of its comics. 

The collection at Harriett’s Bookshop celebrates the ideas of female artists and activists who are doing work to increase awareness around social injustice. “A lot of people are buying How to Be an Antiracist, which I’m glad about, but I want people to mix that up with some of the classics,” Cook says. “Harriet Tubman laid the blueprint on how to think about community organizing, and those same skills and strategies from way back when are still relevant today. Malcolm X was going to bring the U.S. to the international court for the same issues, like police brutality. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to pick up where our ancestors left off.”

Similarly, Maryam Pugh and her Philadelphia Printworks has been spreading messages of social justice through printed t-shirts, taking inspiration from the likes of Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Ella Baker, James Baldwin, and Fannie Lou Hamer. “I hope that people take away the message that they are not alone and that there are a lot of people who are organizing and working toward equity,” says Pugh. 

Marsh + Mane
Marsh + Mane
Marsh + Mane

Outfit your body and your space

In addition to Pugh’s Philadelphia Printworks, shop for one-of-a-kind apparel from 52nd Street boutiques Banni Peru and Love Yourself by Shea Elizabeth (available both in-store and online). The Sable Collective, available for in-person shopping in the Fashion District and online, focuses on jewelry, accessories, and wellness items sourced from BIPOC and women artisans and entrepreneurs. For sneakers and streetwear, you’d be remiss if you didn’t check out Midtown Village’s Common Ground

For one-of-a-kind ceramics, prints, planters, and more, high-end gift shop Yowie is sure to please. With a wide assortment of goods, including jewelry and beauty goods, NoLibs shop Trunc is open for shopping on weekends. 

The October Gallery in Germantown highlights contemporary Black artists; Urban Art Gallery on 52nd Street shows work by emerging artists as well as provides free art, music, and chess programs; One Art Community Center fosters creativity through a bevy of artistic pursuits; and the Paul Robeson House hosts tours and other cultural events to educate the community.

If you’re in need of a little self care, check out Marsh and Mane, which was one of the first boutiques in Philadelphia to sell natural hair products, and Freedom Apothecary, which sought to bring holistic wellness to women of color in Philadelphia. And for more pampering, make an appointment at one of The Naked Peach‘s three local salons for waxes, facials, and lashes.

More ways to help?

Check out a list of national organizations we’ve compiled here. If you have thoughts on other businesses you’d like to see included in our local stories, please email [email protected].

Allie Volpe is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer for Thrillist.

Jessica Sulima is a former Philly resident and an editorial assistant at Thrillist.

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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