PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 14, 2021  
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Story  Photos by John DiSanto


Bennie Briscoe was honored on Tuesday morning at his former school, Roberts Vaux Middle School. A cutout figure of the late middleweight boxer was dedicated at the base of the school's steps. However, Briscoe was not the only one honored. Also remembered was the Bad Bishops, a team of student players who ruled the Junior National Chess Championships between 1977 and 1983. Both installations are part of a program called Play Everywhere Philly that creates playful learning spaces that support child development and literacy skills in everyday locations across Philadelphia.

Vaux Middle School is located at 2300 Master Street in North Philly, and is also the alma mater of other notable Philly fighters including Gypsy Joe Harris and Cyclone Hart. Briscoe installation includes a speed bag mounted on a heavy wooden frame that allows passers-by to both read about Bennie while punching the bag. The exhibit was constructed by a team of current Vaux students. Prior to the dedication, several of these students took turns hitting the speed bag and celebrating their school's new attraction.

As the exhibit states: "Boxing used to be a big part of Vaux Middle School. Informal friendly matches between students would take place on the roof of the school."

Other such installations are planned to pop up around the neighborhood in 2022.




John DiSanto - North Philly - December 14, 2021