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About the Project

This project is an attempt to document and mark sites of resistance to the Philadelphia body trade by challenging institutional authority and traditional narrative.

The Objective

The legacy of the body trade in Philadelphia has some very visible markers: the University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson University, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Wistar Institute, among others. The body trade began in the 1740's and is documented as recently as the 1980's but it was not tolerated by many Philadelphians. The body trade targeted marginalized community burial grounds, from Pauper's Fields to historically Black cemeteries. 

This project seeks to center the voices of those mobilizing for change and post-mortem dignity. It seeks to challenge assumptions of these individuals as "anti-science" or "anti-progress". It works to highlight the ongoing efforts for justice as Philadelphia reckons with the material legacy of the body trade.

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