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Afrofuturist Sun Ra’s humble Philadelphia home is now a historic landmark

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06.06.2022

Sun Ra, the trailblazing jazz musician, poet, and pioneer of the Afrofuturism movement, was also a utopian—both in outer space and here on earth.

Known for a persona that mixed cosmic references, mysticism, and ancient Egyptian iconography, Ra named himself after the Egyptian god of the sun and claimed to be from Saturn. In one project, the 1974 film Space is the Place, Ra and his band, the Arkestra, lead a movement to resettle the Black race on a utopian colony in space. Part social criticism and part psychedelic music video, the film solidified Ra’s stature as a far-out artist pushing the limits of Black culture in America.

Sun Ra, 1974. [Photo: Jim McCrary/Redferns/Getty Images]That space colony may or may not actually exist, but Ra and his band mates did create a real-world version of this utopia. It’s a simple row house located at 5626 Morton Street in Philadelphia that was home to the band for decades. It has just been named the city’s newest historic landmark.

[Image: Google Maps]Jonathan E. Farnham, executive director of the Philadelphia Historical Commission, writes via email that the home’s listing is an effort to recognizing the ordinary places in the city where extraordinary........

© Fast Company


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