A Decade Later: Revisiting Documentary 'Broken Dreams' and James E. Dupree's Art Against Injustice

Monday, January 15, 2024.

Pictured Above: A mural by Philadelphia artist, James Dupree.  Photo Credit: Contributed.


The Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia is offering a free documentary film screening of “Broken Dreams: The Story of James E. Dupree” on February 3rd, 2024

Philadelphia, PA – For Black History Month the Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia at 1901 Vine St is hosting a free documentary film screening of “Broken Dreams: The Story of James E. Dupree” on February 3rd, 2024 at 2PM. The screening will be followed by an insightful conversation between Philadelphia artist James E. Dupree, his former assistant Abigail Henry, and one of the directors Tyrone Brown. The documentary highlights artist Dupree’s eminent domain battle against the city of Philadelphia from 2012 to 2014.

“Broken Dreams” showcases the importance of black voices in the city of Philadelphia, and the systematic injustice that Black Americans continue to face. As two major universities slowly pushed their way into the Mantua community for student housing, urban planning and gentrification, Dupree fought back against the city to retain rightful ownership of his property. 2024 marks the 10 year anniversary of Dupree winning back his deed, and his captivating story still resonates. It remains a poignant testament to the enduring struggle against injustice, a timeless narrative that speaks to the universal fight for artistic freedom and community resilience.

Pictured Above, Center: Artist James E. Dupree  Photo Credit: Contributed.

Dupree is eager to revisit this story, “It’s really important to talk about the journey, and I’m excited to touch on the story itself with all its ups and downs, but also, the process of moving forward in life when you have such great deterrents. I had physical, financial, and every other problem in the world in front of me. I didn’t know that I was going to get through that, I just knew I wasn’t going to give up.”

The discussion between Dupree, Brown, and Henry, which will follow the screening, will reveal new details on the aftermath of the eminent domain battle. TY Brown, a seasoned visual media production specialist and founder of “Media International,” is also an experienced documentary filmmaker with over 20 years in the business and more than a dozen projects to his credit. Henry, is an accomplished educator focused on African-American History and Africana studies, who has shaped school curriculums in the Philadelphia public and charter school systems.

In association with the screening, an accompanying exhibition “Stolen Dreams: The Artistic Resistance of James E. Dupree in Philadelphia Eminent Domain Struggle” is featured on the library’s second floor, available for viewing from January through February. This exhibition seamlessly weaves together archival documents from the Art Department’s artist research files with Dupree’s artwork from that period, offering a compelling visual and historical narrative that supports the documentary screening.

Registration is open for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s screening of “Broken Dreams,” on the library’s event schedule. Please contact their help desk with any questions 215-686-5403.

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