Clayborn Benson, founder of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society, talks about the importance of preserving history, the true meaning of family and the power of discovering our hidden potential and identity. Continue reading Podcast: Clayborn Benson
Novion Bailey, who grew up without much money or his father, has had to create his own goals and vision for his life. Continue reading “I want to go to Yale”
If we don’t ask where we have been, if we don’t listen, we won’t be able to grow in the way that we should. We won’t be able to move forward. Continue reading The power of experience
Joanne walks to the sidewalk from beside the open passenger window of a Jeep, where she had been a moment before. She opens her chapped lips to speak; the Pick ‘n Save at 2355 N. 35th St. looms in the background.
“We are so hungry … we ain’t eaten in two days. Please help me,” she says.
M.D. Dangerfield Jr. sits in a yard near 2nd and Nash in Williamsburg Heights. A small, portable grill is filled to the brim with meats; children play on the sidewalk nearby. Dangerfield — draped in a white, tank top undershirt and a towel that hangs from his shoulder — looks on.
“I’ve been around here ‘bout a good six, seven years. It’s a big difference from where I’ve been,” says Dangerfield, who was born and spent most of his early childhood in Chicago. “It’s more peaceful.”
Norma Wheeler sits on the front port of her home in Williamsburg Heights. Wheeler raised all of her children in the house, located on a one-way strip of 2nd Street, where she’s lived for more than 50 years.
“I’ve been livin’ in Milwaukee all of my adult life. I raised all of my kids here, in this particular house, and I get along with my neighbors pretty good,” she says.
Primitivo Cortes sits on a short brick wall that frames the garden next to his home in Walker’s Point. Cortes, 60, smokes a cigarette in his work uniform, a collared, grey shirt that displays his first name.
Primitivo was born in Mexico but came to Milwaukee in 1994. “Better opportunities, better jobs.” he says. “In Mexico the situation is terrible.”
Calip Stephens sits on small pier in a hidden boat landing in Harbor View just off Lake Michigan on an early Friday morning. Stephens is up before the sunrise and, it seems, before the fish, as well; his two poles, two lines cast, heed no bites.
Stephens was born in 1950 in East Chicago, Indiana, about 15 miles outside Gary. Back then, he says, the fishing was a little easier. “Oh, it was boomin’, the livin’ was nice,” he says.
Preston Jones smokes a cigarette outside the Milwaukee Rescue Mission on W. Wells Street in the Marquette neighborhood. Expelling the smoke seems like a sacred ritual for Jones — he opens his mouth in a long “o” shape, exposing his slender, yellow-stained teeth, before breathing out.
Jones was “born and raised right here in Milwaukee” and, for the most part, hasn’t left. “I done been to Chicago before, I done been to Holly Springs, Mississippi, before — only one time to each one of them,” he says, though you wouldn’t know from hearing him talk — his voice is loud with a hint of southern drawl.