Give Today. Preserve Tomorrow.

Preserving the Legacy of Coltrane & His Philadelphia Roots

Watch ONLINE via ZOOM from the safety and comfort of your home. 

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Preserving the Legacy of Coltrane & His Philadelphia Roots

presented by Tonnetta Graham and Homer Jackson

Join us as we share the legacy of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane and highlight his roots in Philadelphia. Coltrane is one of the most influential jazz musicians to ever play. His acclaimed work as a saxophonist, bandleader and composer led him to become the guiding force behind free jazz. With albums like "Giant Steps'', ``My Favorite Things'', and "A Love Supreme", Coltrane remains more relevant today than during his 40 year life span.

His transition to Philadelphia began in 1952, when as a US Navy veteran, Coltrane used his GI Bill to relocate his mother, aunt and cousin to a new home at 1511 N. 33rd Street in the Strawberry Mansion section of North Philadelphia. The significance of this address is deeper than merely being the place he called home for the longest continuous span of time during his musical career. It is the home where he created his first three albums, discovered his faith in God and where scholars say Coltrane single handedly transformed jazz from its "media imposed identity to something romantically, even divinely artistic." In 1999, the house was declared a National Historic Landmark and subsequently fell into disrepair as it's ownership changed.

Since Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation (SMCDC) always viewed the house as a significant cultural and community asset that represents the community’s long-time relationship to jazz, they continuously nurtured the need for its restoration and ultimately obtained a grant from the Community Design Collaborative, for the John Coltrane Museum and Cultural Arts Center Site Feasibility Study. This feasibility study serves as the basis for their development and implementation of a plan to restore the house as a museum and expand its footprint to the adjacent properties to create a Cultural Arts Center to celebrate Coltrane's life and serve as a hub for jazz in Philadelphia. 

Learn more about and the

Tonnetta Graham is a Philadelphia native who is a Founder and current President of the Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation (SMCDC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to neighborhood preservation, commercial, residential and economic development, planning and advocacy. She has successfully lead community engagement efforts and negotiations on a wide variety of development projects that have resulted in community benefits that stabilized the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood and empowered its longtime residents. Her visionary leadership of SMCDC lead to the creation of a variety of programs and initiatives such as the Strawberry Mansion Historic Home Repair Program, Homeowner Emergency Repair Grant, Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Conservation Overlay and the Essential Documents programs. Tonnetta has a BS in Human Resource Management from Indiana University of PA and her MS in Higher Education and Organizational Leadership from Drexel University with additional certifications in Volunteer Management and Citizen Planning. She enjoys traveling, learning, and spending time with her friends and family, especially her teenage son Luke.

Homer Jackson is a talented interdisciplinary artist from Philadelphia with a background in curation, teaching and social service. His work is presented as installation, performance art, public art, video and audio. He uses images, sounds, text, live performance, video, audience participation and found objects to tell stories. As a young art student, jazz nurtured Jackson’s creativity and provided an outlet for self-expression. With over 20 years experience as a teaching artist working in community settings, Mr. Jackson has served as project director for a number of arts & humanities projects and has conducted workshops in senior centers, prisons, schools and community organizations. Jackson has worked with young people, adults and older adults, as well as inter-generational participants. Through his workshops, participants have produced art exhibitions, albums, books, comic books and videotapes. Mr. Jackson is a BFA graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art and he holds a MFA from Temple University's Tyler School of Art. He has performed, or exhibited works at Philagraphika, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Nexus Gallery, Moore College of Art, Yellow Springs Institute, the Painted Bride Arts Center, Taller Puertorriqueno and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and others. Homer Jackson lives and works in Philadelphia and currently serves as the director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.

$15 | General Admission

$12 | Alliance Member 

Free | Students*

If you have been affected by the pandemic and would like to attend this virtual lecture but cannot afford to do so, please email Vinni Cheng on for complimentary access.

*Email photo of valid student ID to Vinni Cheng to register as a student.

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