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Thursday, May 9 · 6 to 8 PM

Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture

Princeton University

 free · open to the public · refreshments will be served

History 202 and The Trenton Project cordially invite you to the premiere of six short micro-documentaries. The student screening, "Private Lives, Public Stories," explores and experiments with biography, personal narrative, and the ways that individual experience contributes to profound social change. Our focus is Trenton in the 1960s.


The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the student filmmakers, Professors Alison Isenberg and Purcell Carson and the film participants.  The event is free and open to the public. 



Purcell Carson, Alison Isenberg, and the students of History 202

The Trenton Project is a collaborative documentary investigation of a city. We work in community with residents and institutional partners to document and amplify the lives and talents of Trentonians as they weave and repair the fabric of a city. For over ten years, we've worked to conduct research, create films, raise questions, gather archives, tell stories, and bring community together.

Alison Isenberg is professor of history at Princeton University, where she codirects the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities. She is the author of Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It, Designing San Francisco (2017) and the forthcoming Uprisings about Harlan Bruce Joseph.

Purcell Carson is a filmmaker and academy-award winning editor of documentaries. She teaches at Princeton University and founded The Trenton Project in 2012 as a way to engage students and community partners. Her own film, Harlan B. Joseph Was Here is in production. She is also directing and editing a portrait of Central American migration between Salcajá Guatemala and Trenton, La Vida No Termina / Life Does Not End

The Films and Filmmakers

Preaching to the Heavens and Serving on Earth

Mattie Isaac, Angela Allen

Who was one of Trenton’s great orators, activists, religious leaders, and politicians? Reverend S. Howard Woodson's powerful presence and voice filled up every space he entered: Shiloh Baptist Church where he was pastor for 50 years, the State Legislature where he was the first African American New Jersey assemblyman, and countless city community centers and gatherings. This film traces key points in Rev. Woodson's political career, examines his legacy, and explores the complexities of Black political and spiritual leadership during the turbulent 1960s. 


A Walk Down Perry Street 

Janelli Morones & Jenna Kim

When you exit the Route 1 highway, do you know where you are? Perry Street in Trenton, New Jersey is the street often bypassed by individuals or the in-between of a destination. " A Walk Down Perry Street" tells a biographical narrative of Perry Street from the ’60s to the present day, through the recollection of lifetime residents. Viewing the evolution of businesses, wellness centers, bus stations, and schools. 


People not Pawns

Tom Billington and Maggie Liebich

After the Freedom Rides of 1961 and James Meredith's admission to the University of Mississippi in 1962, White Citizens Councils in the South sponsored the relocation of black families to northern cities to expose what they saw as Northern Liberal hypocrisy. These events have been called the Reverse Freedom Rides. In February 1963, the Gilmores, a family of ten, reached Trenton in search of US Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, only to realize their trip was an elaborate joke. Despite this, they opted to stay, beginning a new chapter in their lives. This is their story.


She’s With You 

N’Dea Piliavin-Godwin, Julia Stern, and Cailyn Tetteh

She’s With You tells the story of Judge Anne Thompson and her fifty-five years in the Trenton legal system. At the core of her legacy lies not just her dedication to law and justice, but also the personal connections she built and the many lives she touched. Featuring Judge Thompson herself, the film chronicles the legacy of New Jersey’s first Black female judge. 


Making Mill Hill, Brick by Brick

Leo Yu & Ryan Konarska

The crown jewel of Trenton was once a neighborhood in decline—until Mayor Holland and his family moved to 138 Mercer Street in 1964. The move caught the attention of the nation and engendered fierce reactions among the area’s white, Black, and Puerto Rican residents. Residents from different points in the community’s history speak of their vision of the neighborhood, rooted in the architecture of its past, building the Mill Hill of the present, and looking to its future.  Mayor Holland’s move fueled a discourse about who truly belongs in Mill Hill—and to whom Mill Hill truly belongs—that continues to this day. 


Generaciones de Niñez Boricua

Roxana Martinez & John Venegas Juarez 

Community Leader Roberto Hernandez reminisces on the generational advancements of the Trenton Latine community through a series of stories, ranging from his family’s journey to Trenton to those of the people he serves daily.

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