The following is my response to a post (entitled “Damien Was”) written by The Field Negro regarding another drive-by shooting in Philadelphia, the city where I grew up.
Hello Brother Field,
August, 24, 2014
Thanks for being one of the voices in the wilderness of America in general and Philadelphia in particular.
Brother I respectfully disagree with your premise about Black-on-Black crime when you said, “Maybe it’s because we understand what causes it: Poverty brought on by poor schools, and a government that doesn’t care about the least among us. Broken homes caused by a men who don’t know how to be fathers. And being raised in an environment that is nothing like what America should look like.”
I grew up in Philly-graduating from Gillespie Junior High School (18 & Pike) and Edison High School (8th & Lehigh). While attending Gillespie, we lived in the 1500 block of Indiana Ave; and attending Edison we lived in the 1800 block of N. College Wall. I looked at the Girard College wall (an all White boys school) every time I came out of my front door for about 18 months. We then moved into the brand new projects around the corner on Morris St., near Ridge Ave.
While attending Edison, everyday was a reminder that I was attending an inferior school with inferior teachers in a dilapidated building in the heart of the slums. At Edison, the cafeteria was in the basement, as well as the locker room where we changed for gym without showers. You can imagine what the cafeteria smelled like by the last lunch period.
In my 11th year, had I not figured out my own curriculum and noticed that I did not have enough credits to graduate with an academic diploma, no one else was going to tell me, especially my guidance counselor. I took it upon myself to change my curriculum from academic to general in order to graduate on time. By the way, as you know, Thomas A. Edison High School holds the record for the highest mortality rate of any American high school during the Vietnam War.
Brother Field my mother raised four children on her own as my father was an alcoholic and spent very little time with us. Once we moved into those brand new projects, before the summer was over, they had become the worst place we had ever lived. Living on the 11th floor became a nightmare, because many days we either, could not ride the elevators because they were broken, or had several piles of human feces in them.
The Black-on-Black murder rate was bad, yet the numbers were no where near to what it is now, yet, it was happening. In fact, I had three friends killed by rival gangs before I graduated from high school.
After moving into the projects, I promised myself that once I graduated from high school, I was moving out. My mother, older brother and myself pooled our money (I always had an after school and summer job) and after graduating in June 1969, we bought our first home in Germantown (Ross & High St) in July 1969.
In spite of the Vietnam War- no, because of the Vietnam War and the draft, I voluntarily joined the Navy in 1970 and served honorably for six years because I wanted more than the dead end job I had at Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Because of my going into the Navy, I now have the following degrees: Associates Degree in Psychology, Bachelors Degree in Behavior Science and a Masters Degree in Counseling. In addition, I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Georgia and a Licensed Master Social Worker in South Carolina and the author of two books.
I share this not to brag or impress you or your readers. My wish is to impress upon you and your readers that even though we do not have boots or straps to pull ourselves up, we can still make a way.
Brother, we all have choices and unfortunately, too many of us make the choice to blame the White man for everything negative that happens to us. That is a cop out.
Black African Americans have the bloodline of the greatest people to ever walk on this planet. We are descendants of the same people who built the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids and our ancestors taught civilization to the world.
As long as we continue looking into the mirrors and seeing ourselves as “minorities” or “blacks,” we will always think of ourselves as being at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder and waiting for the White man to pull us up.
It is a terrible thing to look into the mirror and see someone that you hate and self-hatred is the reason that we have Black-on-Black violence.
As a man or woman thinks, so will he or she become.
Oh, what a blessing it is that Black African Americans do not think or read, says the Pimps, Politicians and Preachers. Thank you