Rucker presenting a workshop at May Day on Armat Street in front of the “We Still Here” mural dedicated to her in May 2022. (GIH | Rasheed Ajamu)
Rucker at the May Day on Armat Street event. (GIH | Rasheed Ajamu)

Germantown is a neighborhood that is home to many creative geniuses. However, few can boast of having a mural dedicated to their visionary work. Ursula Rucker, a mother, artist, poet, and neighborhood native, is one of the few who can.

Rucker has received numerous accolades for her work, including contributions to three of The Roots’ albums, features in prestigious Black cultural magazines such as XXL and VIBE, a grant from the Leeway Foundation, and a fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Rucker already has a number of albums but is looking to finish a brand new one in 2024 and tour in Europe. Right now, she has a new collaboration with Charles Webster called “Brand Anew.”

Despite her many accomplishments, Rucker remains grounded and is always willing to participate in community events and happenings around Germantown and the broader Philadelphia region.

She shares her favorite things about the neighborhood with the Germantown Info Hub.

Favorite place to get food

Rucker rewards the contemporary-style American food Tipsy Cafe at 5227 Germantown Avenue and Ethiopian cuisine Salam Cafe at 5532 Greene Street as her favorite places to bust a grub in Germantown.

Favorite park

“FERN HILL,” she exclaims, citing the grounds at 4600 Morris Street. “I mean… it’s pretty perfect!” 

Favorite recreational activity

When she’s not writing or performing, Rucker likes to walk “to and through” Fern Hill Park.

Favorite shops to frequent

Rucker cites the secondhand store Bargain Thrift Center at 5261 Germantown Avenue as her favorite shop to frequent. She says, “I love it so much!”

Recommended historic destination

“GERMANTOWN,” declares Rucker, acknowledging the rich history of the entire neighborhood. “There’s so much to say. It’s a vortex of indigenous information and energy and Philly history and human history. So much is here!”

One addition she’d like to see to the neighborhood

“A multi-vibe type center, ya’mean? People gather, vend, art, eat, drink coffee… have meetings ‘bout how we gon finally all live well and joyfully out this jawn together. Have art sharings, exhibits, and performances… stuff like that.”