Premiering Monday, Jan. 2, at 9 p.m., Maryland Public Television's original one-hour documentary “Unpacking Cambridge: A Story of Rebirth & Reconciliation” tells the story of a Dorchester County boom town that went bust and is now picking itself back up again.
In the first half of the 20th century, Cambridge’s Phillips Packing House was the largest cannery in the world, an economic powerhouse that elevated the former slave port into a prosperous community for black and white residents and drove the social fabric of life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
When the Packing House abruptly ceased operations in the early 1960s, Cambridge deteriorated along with the dormant building. The crumbling bricks of the huge factory served as a constant reminder of better days for the struggling community. As the economy shrank, social unrest grew, resulting in protests, violence and fires that engulfed the black neighborhoods.
Cut to the present, where Cambridge is begging for redevelopment, just like many other rural communities in America. In the midst of that, the neglected Packing House has become a bold experiment. Appropriately for a building that once cranked out food products and supported a community, it is being reborn as a hub for food and innovation. The Packing House is a symbol of Cambridge's past, but it can also be a beacon of hope for the future as it offers exciting opportunities for the region.
“Unpacking Cambridge” explores all this and more. The documentary will be broadcast on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream. It will also be available to stream on demand using MPT’s online video player and the PBS Video App. Encore broadcasts will be offered Thursday, Jan. 5, at 9 p.m. on MPT2 and Saturday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m.
A preview of the program, along with several digital extras and photographs from the making of the film, can be found at mpt.org/unpackingcambridge.
“Unpacking Cambridge: A Story of Rebirth & Reconciliation” is a co-production of MPT and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development in association with Warner Hanson Television. For more information, contact Michael MacFee at email@example.com or 410-581-4262.