“The best days of Aliquippa, PA are ahead, and we greet them with joy!”
ALIQUIPPA, UNITED STATES
AUGUST 2021 | 50 PORTRAITS
People familiar with Aliquippa often hearken back to “glory days,” when the steel mills were operating, and our main street was humming with commercial activity and community life. Not only is this narrative referring to a past that is not returning, but it also ignores more ignoble realities of classism, racism, educational disparity, labor conflict and hazardous working conditions, and various other unfortunate truths of a bygone era.
This seems tragic, but there is beauty. While Aliquippa residents continues to struggle with the fallout of sudden and lasting poverty, there is also another narrative at play: one of hope, creativity, resilience, and taking care of each other. The story of Aliquippa’s renaissance is embodied by generations of people who thrive in neighborhoods and church communities and housing projects and front porches. Generationally, they take care of each other’s children and advocate for their neighbor. And now, the children are dreaming and building their own future here. Our portraits capture this: tenacity and hope for a place often viewed in light of what it lacks. But we resist that story. We see the beauty of resilience here.