Evelyn Smith teeter-totters down the sidewalk of North Teutonia Avenue in Borchert Field, grocery bags in hand. She stops in a triangle-island at the corner of Burleigh Street to wait for the bus she’ll catch home. The 70-year-old was born in Canton, Miss., but her parents came to Milwaukee in 1949 when Smith was only 5 or 6 for “the reason everybody else came up here”: better jobs.
Earlene Green stands on the northwest corner of 14th and Burleigh in Borchert Field, dressed to the nines after attending a funeral. The 66-year-old Green is hesitant at first but it doesn’t take much before she begins to recall her childhood. “We were getting integrated at that time,” says Green. “It was different … it was very different.”
Corey Nash doesn’t have much faith in Milwaukee. The 17-year-old and a friend walk down a partially-snow-covered sidewalk on 16th Street in Borchert Field but they grew up on the South Side, he says. “[You] couldn’t go to sleep without hearing a gunshot,” says Nash. “They say the South Side is supposed to be safer than the North Side — it’s all the same.”