Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Gary Indiana’ Category

West Side Alumni Chris Hunter was signed by the Knicks after having a stellar season in the NBA D-League with Fort Wayne.  He is the first player from Northwest Indiana to play in the NBA since Glenn Robinson.

There’s no coincidence that both hail from G.I.. Though that area (or region as they call it) continues to cheat Gary youth by harrassing them and their teams in the Indiana High School Boys Basketball Tournament, Chris Hunter is Gary’s shining example of how to just “jump over” those road blocks.

He did it at West Side, leading them to a State Championship and he did it here, overcoming being relegated to supporting cast status during his playing days at Michigan and playing in Poland as well as the D-League.

Look for West Side’s Xavior Jones to make it there as well as Brandon Dawson and Dejaun Marrero of Lew Wallace and Bowman Academy. Goes to show you that playing in in the Northwest Indiana Conference preps kids for the D-1 as well as the NBA.

No other “region” conference can say this. Keep making excuses to avoid playing Gary schools. And keep hurting your players chances of getting better opportunities.

Read Full Post »

This blog represents the first in a series of blogs that will attempt to chronicle “what’s wrong & right with the City of Gary, Indiana”. The blog is written with the sole purpose of creating forward thinking dialogue on how to improve, not lambaste, the City that I grew up in.

No, I no longer live there. However, it’s where I was born and raised. My parents raised my family there. Worked and lived there for 30 years. I have a connection there that will and cannot ever be broken. The place has so much to do with who I am today as well as “how I am” as a person.

As I told my wife the other day in a conversation, I believe in laying blame. I know, I know. I’ve been around many a situation in the corporate setting where a “leader” has espoused the type of statement that “placing the blame is useless” when addressing a major issue that needs fixing.

The thing about the topic of Gary that differs from that of say a business setting is that what ails Gary is of a social nature. Yes, business or lack there of, is a major component of what ails Gary. But from a social vantage point, I believe, we first have to solve, or improve, the social environment of Gary before ANY type of viable business structured solution can be brought to the City.

In solving, or improving the social environment, we’ve got to call out those who seek to continue or contribute to the spiraling fall of the city where I was brought into this world.

Yes. Gary is a predominately Black city. I therefore feel that it’s problems are predominantly those of the Black citizens of the city. Essentially, I get the impression that my former neighbors who have decided to stay in Gary and “tough it out”, feel they are powerless at effecting change in Gary. They do vote. They pay their property taxes. They are not the problem. They have aged and contributed to the city and the elected officials there have let them down in return.

Sure, this sounds like the post is going into the direction of, say, a Post-Tribune or a NWI Times editorial written by some outsider person of the White race who, it seems, takes great joy in pointing out the ills of Gary.

However, I am not White. Though I am now an outsider, I still have a connection to that city in which life long friends and neighbors still traverse the mean streets of Chase St, 5th Ave, Grant St., Broadway, Burr St and Taft St., among others.

I understand when a friend who calls me and tells me he just came from Gary, helping his mother purchase a lawn mower and comments on how bad the city looks, or that someone I grew up with just died and how they died, I understand the sorrow in their voices. It’s different then the tone of a editorial written by some White resident who lives in Merrillville or Hobart or Crown Point who harbors a stereotypical mindset towards Blacks due to the history of the existence of Blacks in the Lake County area. Gary in particular.

That tone is one of innuendo and hate filled propaganda. The tone of my friends when they tell me things about the city they still live in, there is a tone of hurt, despair, and love. They dearly wish the place would see better days. The tone of the Post Tribune columnist is one that gives the impression they couldn’t care less if the people in Gary all killed themselves and died a horrible death.

So Fuck Them. (This the only time you will see such an offensive statement in this blog about Gary, I promise)

The emotions that I have on the whole issue of my UNDERSTANDING as to how Gary ultimately arrived where it is today, is fueled by my distaste for those people who essentially have kept a death grip on Gary financially while living outside of it’s boundaries. Those would be the “White Flighters”.

I have purposely, in the recent past, traveled to Gary with my daughters who for the first time were old enough to see Gary and remember it after the visit. I can argue that the place looks nothing like it did when I first took them there when they were very young, that type of thinking is directed towards the neighborhood I grew up in. More importantly, the house I grew up in.

I loved that house. I loved my street. I certainly remember the days, years, that everyone (well most everyone) took pride in how their homes looked. Kept up their quarters. I had a beautiful childhood on 8th and Taney. I would not trade it for any other type of childhood experience. And yes, it was a 100% and viable Black neighborhood!

There are some who think there was no way this was possible in the City of Gary. As far as most Whites in particular are concerned, Gary has been a  S-hole since at least the early 70’s. Well I can attest to the wonderful upbringing I had in the city. I take the good memories with the bad.

So I’m driving down Broadway with wife and girls and showing them our sparkling, dynamic downtown. Yes, the first thing they notice is that all, yes every building is boarded up. I ask them to take a CLOSER LOOK at the boards that were on the store fronts. I asked them to take a close scan of the buildings that were dilapidated. I then asked them to identify one sign that informed anyone as to how to purchase or lease any of those buildings.

THEY COULD NOT FIND ONE! Then I explained something to them that I found out when I returned to Gary years ago at a time that I myself was a business owner in Nashville, Tn. I had an interest in how one would go about purchasing one of those buildings. The thing I found out is that for the most part, they are not for lease or for sale!

Most of those entities who abandoned Gary in the 70’s under the guise of White Flight has retained ownership of the business store fronts they abandoned while relocating their shops and businesses in places like Hobart and Merrillville. They have a vendetta against Black Gary citizens. Yes the Black ones who essentially voted in the nations first Black Mayor of a major city, Richard G. Hatcher.

The way Hatcher ascended to power contributed to the lingering resentment that those former White citizens of Gary have towards Blacks today.  I explained to my girls that Hatcher ascended to the position of Mayor of Gary on the coat tails of the Black Power Movement of the late 60’s. I explain to them that even today, any type of black political figure that was or has been associated with the “Black Power” movement of the civil rights era, is a hated figure in the racist part of the White community and is often identified as examples of racist blacks by modern mainstream media and White politicians the like.

I explained to my girls, there is a deep hatred towards Black citizens of Gary by the suburban White citizens of Lake County Indiana who still own those store fronts on Broadway. Essentially, Blacks stood up to what was then a racist City of Gary government that treated black citizens as second class citizens much like the way Blacks were treated throughout the country at that time.

The big thing was that Blacks in Gary chose to use ideology more in line with Malcolm X then that of Martin Luther King to effect change.

You know. The line Bernie Mac used to use to open his shows on Def Comedy Jam.

Well for now, read this article in the Post-Tribune for an example of one our own (Black Men) who clearly has been taking the citizens of Gary for a ride with their tax dollars…

Glen Park group forgets about ‘that’ $100,000

Like I said. The Post Tribune does a good job at making sure the ills of Gary are on display. I’ll use it to make a point. I promise to dig deeper then the sarcastic tone the journalist who wrote the piece clearly has taken.

(to be continued…)

Read Full Post »

This post kicks off the 2008/2009 Gary Indiana Boys and Girls Basketball season. If you’ve found this post and you either live in Gary or are formerly from G.I., please leave a message on your feelings/thoughts on this upcoming basketball season, as well as those types of thoughts on past seasons.

I just find there is a lack of such a place on the net and decided to give this a shot. One thing you can count on; I myself will be posting a weekly statement on my thoughts from afar on the state of G.I. B-Ball.

Please, feel free to chime in with scores, hype, trash talk or just plain thoughts down memory lane…

GO WEST SIDE!

Read Full Post »

Martin Luther King used the term “UpSouth” to characterize his thoughts of the State of Indiana whenever he traveled to it.  Essentially, he was inferring that unlike other non-southern states north of the Mason-Dixon line, the fervor of the racist climate was as negative in Indiana as it was in, say,  Alabama.

Having grown up in Gary , Indiana, I understand those sentiments all too well. It is not surprising to see that Indiana, though being viewed as a potential “swing state”, is polling in the favor of John McCain.

The term “isolation breeds ignorance” identifies with, in my opinion, the back roads of Indiana.

Essentially, outside of Gary, Indiana and Indianapolis, you won’t find too many Black Americans living amongst back roads the great John Cougar Mellencamp sings about in his songs. While this is also true in places like the back roads of Iowa, white citizens of the State of Indiana have carried a prepackaged 20th Century anti-black vantage point of blacks into the 21st Century, while citizens of the back roads of Iowa have not entirely, evidenced by Obama’s win there in the Iowa Caucus during the primaries.

Why did Iowans not display the same type of behavior towards Obama as Hoosiers did during its primary as well as in today’s polls, I cannot answer. I have a limited knowledge of Iowa, so I have to take a pass on that. But I do have a take on the behavior of Hoosiers then (during the primaries) and now, pre-Nov. 4th election day.

To put it bluntly, white lower class and middle class citizens of the State of Indiana have had to compete with black citizens for industrial jobs since the industrial revolution brought hundreds of thousands of them to the State of Indiana via textile mills and steel mills. I truly feel that this “factor” has had a great deal to do with a lot of the animosity that White Hoosiers have towards Black Hoosiers (trying calling a black person from Indiana a “Hoosier” and watch the odd look on their faces).

Though agriculture has remained a large part of the makeup of Indiana, quite a number of Hoosiers who grew up on farms and in small towns throughout Indiana, migrated to places like Gary, Hobart, East Chicago, Fort Wayne, Hammond, Crown Point and Portage to snag good paying jobs in the steel mills of the then second largest steel producing area of the United States (to Pittsburgh).

In my opinion, it’s the City of Gary itself that fuels most of the animosity towards blacks in the entire State of Indiana. Iowa has no “Gary, Indiana”. To be honest with you, I don’t think there is another Gary, Indiana in the entire United States of America. It is a unique place that’s full of civil rights history that, to me, has never really had it’s story told as it should be told. The quintessential misunderstood city.

It’s my home. I take it with the good and the bad. It’s painful to see what it’s become. This of course, is exactly what most Whites who either previously lived in Gary or nearby points to whenever they want to provide an example of “how blacks really are”. This sentiment has “trickled down” throughout the State of Indiana and most White Hoosiers are resolute in their belief that blacks are dangerous, “Just look at Gary”…

I will one day break down my critique of that vantage point, but now is not the time. In fact, I’d probably have to pay for extra space in WordPress to provide such a vantage point. Maybe in a book. Who knows.

For the sake of the upcoming election, I’m calling the State of Indiana for McCain. I have no confidence that the White citizens of the State of Indiana, collectively, CAN set aside their animosity towards Blacks and vote a Black man into the White House.

If I’m wrong, which I hope I am, it would be a great day for that State. Racial polarization, especially in Northwest Indiana, is a cancer to the State. I fear that it will never be able to move ahead collectively until the issue of race is put to rest.

I believe this is true for the entire country. If we can EVER put aside the issue of race collectively, we will see that this country is still the best in the world. THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE LIKE IT.

Read Full Post »

I recall reading about John Boyd (Coach of West Side) sounding bitter about the circumstances of a charter school (I think Bowman) affecting where the ever thinning basketball talent pool goes to high school in Gary.

Having been born and raised in Gary in an era where charter schools were not a problem, I can only speak on this subject from the “outside looking in” perspective. I will also attest to having limited knowledge of just what a charter school is.

From what I understand, Gary now has 5 high schools remaining: West Side (always 1st), Roosevelt, Lew Wallace, Wirt and then Emerson.

Horace Mann was closed some years back and I believe I’ve read about whispers of “HISTORIC” ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL closing this year. Whew…

That’s hard to imagine. Especially when I read about Bowman Academy.  With Gary’s dwindling population, I’m sure that Bowman’s siphoning of students from the rolls of schools such as Roosevelt is contributing to the chatter or need for a school such as Velt to close.

Am I missing something here? Keep in mind that I was born and raised in G.I. and I completely understand the challenges the citizens of Gary face in the area of getting their children a quality education. I will say this, for all the negative critique of the Gary School System, I sure do have a lot of former classmates and hear of a lot of former classmates and friends doing some good if not great things with their lives.

When I left West Side, I did so with an ability to read/write/think with the best of any other 18 year old in the country. I don’t care what the Post Trib or NWI Times says. In my adult life, I see it everyday in what I do for a living, people of all walks in life, degrees from the best or 1st tier universities, especially white , who simply don’t impress me with their ACTUAL ABILITIES” to do white collar tasks on a consistent and quality basis.

Sure their degrees are from UNC or NC State or Duke, but I’ve learned to look beyond that and focus on their actually abilities. You’ll be surprised what money or a legacy can buy…

Back to Bowman. Of course the issue comes down to Gary’s past time: HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL! I saw last year how Bowman, I think, beat Roosevelt and played West Side and Lew Wallace tough (they may have beat el dubb).

I guess I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this topic. Seeing the Gary Holiday tournament won by Bowman Academy instead of Side, Velt, El Dubb, Wirt, or Gary Mann is like WTF?

From the sounds of the chatter coming out Gary, this is a possibility this upcoming season.

Read Full Post »

So Obama might just be the next president of the U.S.. While I applaud his position, I also have to signal the need for his black supporters to “wake up and smell what’s brewing”.

I mentioned in previous post how a Barack win will bring about a new type of perspective on blacks in the eyes of quite a bit of White America. The first thought that comes to mind is that since he is articulate (like millions upon millions of other Blacks) and (if) he actually wins the presidency and does his time in the White House, then this will provide a step forward in the area of racial relations in this country.

Then comes: Racism? What Racism”.

This is where the “wake up” comes in. The Obama-Clinton race for the Democrat nomination demonstrated just how much racism is still in existence in this country. It’s true the mere fact a black man can be seen as a viable candidate for the Presidency and receive millions upon millions of votes from white voters is surely a sign that race relations have taken a monumental leap from the year I was born (68).

On the contrary, the venomous campaign approach Clinton used to stay in the race showed just how easily it is to stoke white racist feelings about black men and people in general, and use it as a motivating tool to go against anything that involves the improvement of black people, whether it be in their personal lives or the perception of black life/people in all of the Americas.

Which brings me to this; A blacks ability to advance in this country is going to take a DRAMATIC change with an Obama Presidency.

Expect more heated and intense challenges to affirmative action from whites.

Expect even more scrutiny when the need to use anti-discrimination laws justifiably arise

Expect more charges that blacks are racist towards whites

Expect there to be a perception that everything is level now. We do have a black president, you know…

The days of a Shaq rapping about Kobe (justifiably) and using the n word without receiving heat are gone. Shaq got a taste of that years ago when he mocked Chinese dialect when making a statement about Yao Ming.

Black people, if we are going to cry a hissy fit about a guy like Imus saying the N word or something racist, we’ve got to expect that we need to be held to the same standard.

It’s a unique time for black people here in the U.S.. I for one believe it’s going to be a good, positive change overall. It’s going to be tough. The majority (whites) still and will continue to do things that WE blacks know are racist.

It happens to me at least once a day as a black man. Every singe f_ckin day. Sometimes in small subtle occurances. Other times in ways that simply Makes Me Wanna Holla!

It’s time for us to police our own. We have alot of growing to do within our own community. Our own little Zimbabwe’s and Mugabe’s across the country within our own communities. We’ve been needing a jolt and I believe the Obama experience is and will catapult us into the next episode.

Read Full Post »

The Milk Depot. The Lure. Screamin Wheels. Rays Shrimp House. Tri-Tri City. Westbrook Apartments. Chase School. The Dairy Queen on 15th Ave. Jackson Rib House. Archie B’s. Martin Gas Station. Jewel Food Store. The Village. Vienna Red Hot stand. Custom Tops. Montgomery Wards. Gilmore Stadium. Methodist Hospital. Mercy Hospital. Arts Bakery. Horseman. WEST SIDE COUGARS. Roosevelt Panthers. El Dubb. Wirt. Lake St. Beach. Marquette Park. Broadway. The Genesis Center. Disco Enterprise!. Victor Vincent house parties. House Music. Farley. JM Silk. Julius Jumpin Perez. Mickey Mixin Oliver. The Fly Jock Tom Joyner. WGCI 107.5 FM. WBMX is gonna make you rich!. The hot lunch mix. Leaded Gasoline. My Camaro rollin on Chrome Cragar 20’s in the 80’s! Jensen 6×9’s(four of em) in the back dash. The flea market behind The Village. Kressgees. JC Pennys, White Castles. Piggly Wiggly on Grant St (way back). Walgreens in Tri City. Mays department store across from Tri City. The Bud Plant. The Store in Tri City. Ivanhoe (Poe Jets!). The Spectrum. West Side vs. Roosevelt. The Holiday Tournament. The Thanksgiving Day Tournament. The Gary Drill Team Competition. The Gary Dump. Tim McCalister. Kenny McLaurin. Winston Garland. Johnny Fort. Tellis Franks. Donald Carter. Jerome Harmon. Eric Longino. Craig Dixon (Mr. Westbrook) schoolin D-1 prospects on the court in Westbrook.

The wavy part of Chase St going to the Village. 5h Ave. The Westbrook community center. Summer programs at Chase School and West Brook Community Center before Ronald Reagan. Ridge Road. Ventures in Griffith. South Lake Mall. Century Mall. Carson Pieri Scott. L.S. Ayers. Burger King on the first floor. Lockers in the mall for your coat in the cold ass winter. Chess King, The Lark, Bachrachs. Spencers. Jordach Jeans. The designer jeans craze. Run-DMC. Crush Groove. Whodini. LL Cool J. Afrika Bambata. Planet Rock. Midnight Star, SOS Band. Rick James. Seeing Rick James/Parliament/Bar-Kays concert at West Side’s Gym with my brother. Remembering how so many people was in the gym smokin weed that the cops couldn’t do anything about it. Rick James telling the crowd to ‘light it up”. Trippin out on the cat in Parliament that wears a diaper (old ass still does in current concerts). Devo, Thomas Dolby. Duran Duran. Other European white groups that we actually listened to. When we first got cable and watching an HBO movie for the first time. Those HUGE VCR’s that you used to have to program by moving these small white wheels.

“Sock Hops” on lunch hour at West Side. Darren “Magic” Sumbry. Herman Hurston. Bo-Pete. A.G.. Bo, Sophia Smith, Derenda Braden, Lisa Hill, Mabel Peters, Eric Crosby, Patrick Smith, Marilyn. Old neighborhood friends Tommy Houston. Derrick Owens. Michael Owens. Donnell Draper. Ben Jones. Tim Boudreaux. Ivan Colbert.

Driving like a damn fool down 4th Ave at night coming back from hanging out at the beach. Not noticing how dangerous Gary was until after I left. Now Laters. Chico Sticks. Grape Soda. Riding a bicycle EVERYWHERE until I got a car. Ballin all day and sometimes under the light during the summer months. Ballin in the winter months after clearing the snow from the court and grabbing the outside trash can and putting rags and other crap in it to make a fire to warm your hands while waiting for “next” on the court. Playing tag football in the street. Playing “piggy” in the street. Playing hide and go seek. Talkin about each others momma under the street light. Not challenging Diciples when they roll up on you talkin bout “who you rollin with?”, I ain’t rollin with nobody. Tolleston. Gettin jumped over a girl at West Side. Inland Steel. Sophomore Star Night at West Side. The Gary Football O’Rama. Over sized Boom box carried on my shoulder while walking around the Football O’Rama.

More…

Calling James Piggee “Manute” when he dunked. Lincoln way Deli on 4th. The Blue Room. Dena’s Pub. IUN. Seeing someone get shot. Shoveling snow. In May. Standing in line at the Drill Team Competition or high school basketball games. In the snow. With the wind chill 20 below. Frontin driving thru the front of the Village lookin at my ride in the glass. Skipping school and hanging out at Roosevelt on their lunch period. Tarry Town. The Cobbs. biker shorts at miller beach with biker hats. Broaches and long shirts (house style) Mothafuc_in gangstas wherein black hats with the crossed guns on them. seeing dudes walking down 15th ave ‘stackin” and throwin up pitchforks. The indoor car wash on 11th ave in the winter. the Zanzibar. the library next door. Popeyes chicken on broadway. The bad service at Popeyes on Broadway. City Castles across from the old “Gary” Post Tribune site. All the stores on broadway boarded up. The old theater on broadway with the “Jackson Five” sign still up. Big ass pot holes in the streets. Drag Racing down 5th Ave going towards Miller Beach. West Side Lounge. tip tops. Racist ass Hessville. Going to McDonalds for lunch at West Side. the surge. Getting my car broke into bout 6 times. My Best Friend from elementary school Don Clay. Tommy “King Weird” Houston. throwing rocks at the new car windows on the train. Shooting birds with my pellet gun on the “high line”.

Shine Dog. Kerm. Ug. Flea Bag. Bay Bay. Bootsy. Pink Floyd. Juno. Magic. Richard Hatcher. Ron Helflin. Ike Brown. The Cougar Den Gym. The Panther Den. EC Roosevelt ‘Rough Riders”. Thanksgiving day tournament at EC Roosevelt. Snap dying too young. Cheap Ass Churchs Chicken on 5th ave. Rib Tips. Foot Long Fried Polishes. Trying to rap to girls older than me. The Sheraton when it was open. The old train on 5th AVe across from City Hall. The MEPS Station across the street from the Genesis Center. Not snitchin on dudes from “the Bronx” but having to pay restitution for all the Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and Ding dongs they stole from the delivery truck outside the surge when the dumb ass driver left the back of the truck unlocked and went inside of the school for about 15 minutes. Fast Willie walking down 5th ave selling peanuts walkin REAL fast during the day time. Seeing Fast Willie walking REAL fast that same night selling peanuts at Miller Beach while hanging out and underage drinking. Being stopped so many times by the Gary police in my ride. They never took us to jail. they just took our “stuff” and let us go. Giving a Gary police officer a beer as he cruised thru the parking lot at the Marquette Park Beach parking area, though I was under aged myself.

Straight leg plaid pants. Get n’ them from the thrift store. V-neck Izod sweaters. Swoop fade haircuts (see you tube video of Kwame), Polo’s. Polo cologne. Lagerfield. K-SWISS. The Swiss Boys. The Rude Boys. Black Scotty from Tolleston (The best GQ dressing mofo in middle school). Trench coats. piano ties. Michael Jackson’s Thriller Jacket. The Jerry Curl Factory off Grant St (and I believe 15th). Wet, drippy jerry curls. Afro picks. Afro sheen. Watching Walter Payton play for the Bears on Sunday at 11am. Missing the first half of the games because my momma dragged me to church. Once going to church definitely still hung over from going out the night before (ofcourse moms didn’t know). Walter Jacobson on the Channel Two News. Bill Curtis. Chet Lemon-center fielder for the White Sox. Hating the Cubs (still do). Hating the Packers (still do). Hating Roosevelt High School (as competition- I grew up, don’t hate no more). Reflecting on the HATERS and noticing how I didn’t have time to notice them back then because “I was doin my thang”. Realizing that G.I. was full of haters back then as it is today. Playing the numbers in the raggedy house next to the Milk Depot on Chase St.

Walking to school to Tolleston. Being concerned when that faggot was molesting kids (I guess this was in like 1980 or 81) abducting them while they walked to school-the name for him in the hood was the “booty bandit”. We all walked to school in groups because of this. Mr. Williams at West Side (how he’d cuss at you) Remembering being spanked with a paddle in the 8th grade at Tolleston by Mr. Whiteside (that shit hurt and was humiliating because he did it in front of the class). Me and Magic carrying Ant Green to his front steps while he was passed out drunk, ringing the door bell, running down two houses down where my car was parked and taking off.

Remembering the day my mom called me and told me my boy Magic had been shot to death (she was working in the emergency room the day he was brought in)…

Kerry “Trent Bennett…R.I.P. (You and your moms was/are good people)

Marilyn Bouler… R.I.P. (My prayers go out to her family and her close friends)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »