Neighborhood Chatter: Verna earns her Way

Former City Council President Anna C. Verna was joined by 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and the City Lights String Band

When talking about Philadelphia City Council, Anna Verna is a name that is hard to forget. She served as 2nd District councilperson for 36 years before becoming the first-female City Council president in 1999, a position she held for 12 years (the longest term served for a council president). When Verna retired in 2011, she was the longest-tenured employee in the City of Philadelphia — 60 years. This is just the abbreviated version of her career accomplishments, accomplishments worthy of special recognition.

On Oct. 7, the 1200 block of South Broad St., where she lived for many years, was renamed Anna Cibotti Verna Way. Current 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson presented Verna with the sign. …

Speaking of famous South Philadelphians, Marian Anderson is one of the neighborhood’s biggest stars. The National Marian Anderson Museum is holding its 20th Anniversary Gala & Concert Event on Oct. 28 at Philadelphia Performing Arts, a String Theory Charter School’s Center City campus featuring a performance of “Ragtime the Musical” narrated by CBS 3 anchor Ukee Washington. The theatrical concert will begin at 5 p.m. followed by a celebratory dinner and entertainment starting at 6:30 p.m. The evening is planned to recognize the museum’s meaningful preservation, programming and exhibits in the memory and musical legacy of Anderson.

“In the celebration of Marian’s life, we’re at a historic precipice of 20 years of our historical museum and her musical legacy,” Jillian Patricia Pirtie, National Marian Anderson Scholar Artist and COO of the museum, said. “We celebrate Marian Anderson for her music, her humanitarianism and her legacy. As a Marian Anderson Scholar Artist, I’m honored to carry her torch and legacy”.

Many of the performers in “Ragtime the Musical” concert are Marian Anderson Scholar Artists or individuals who will receive this honor later in the year. The Marian Anderson Scholar Artist Program was started by Anderson in 1960. Blanche Burton Lyles, her protégé and a scholar artist herself, continued the legacy that Pirtie has since taken over. The Scholar Artist mission is to help foster education and professional performance development of talented young up-and-coming artists, ages 18 to 45.

Tickets are $75/person. To RSVP for tickets, contact the Marian Anderson Museum office, 215–779–4219, or visit, …

The students and staff at Amadee Bregy Elementary School, 1700 Bigler St., are ready to walk for a cause — raising money to send to the Red Cross to aid the hurricane relief efforts in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. The walk-a-thon is taking place on Oct. 30. The school held a pep rally on Monday. …

Due to last weekend’s weather, the Capitola Flea Market will take place on Saturday (Oct. 21) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Spots are $25 or $45 for two. For more information, visit

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