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THE WHEEL SPEAKS ON 2013 – An Endangered Species Black Like Me?
 

THE WHEEL SPEAKS ON 2013 – An Endangered Species Black Like Me?

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THE WHEEL SPEAKS ON 2013 – An Endangered Species Black Like Me?

THE WHEEL SPEAKS ON 2013 – An Endangered Species Black Like Me?

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    THE WHEEL SPEAKS ON 2013 – An Endangered Species Black Like Me? THE WHEEL SPEAKS ON 2013 – An Endangered Species Black Like Me? Document Transcript

    •   1     THE  WHEEL  SPEAKS  ON  2013  –  An  Endangered  Species  Black  Like  Me?     Youth  and  being  exuberant  is  a  part  of  the  journey  referred  to  as  growing  up  in  the   60’s  &  very  early  70’s  I  simply  loved  being  a  kid.  Where  I  live  in  Jersey  City  New   Jersey  on  a  block  called  Bergen  Avenue  with  Clinton  and  Communipaw  Avenue  on   each  side.  What  a  place  to  live  as  a  young  boy  we  played  for  hours  and  hours  every   day  traveling  from  the  houses  all  day  of  each  friend  picking  one  another  up  every   weekend  especially.  And  literally  within  the  radius  of  the  three  mention  city  blocks   it  was  nothing  but  pure  unadulterated  fun.     We  of  course  played  sports  on  the  neighboring  adjacent  side  blocks  where  the  traffic   wasn’t  quite  congested  like  Sacket  Street  or  in  the  lot  we’d  play  stickball  or  in  the   summer  when  it  snowed  tackle  football.  Disappearing  from  our  homes  for  hours  and   even  in  those  of  civil  rights  and  known  racism  I  can  honestly  say  I  was  never  scared   when  we  played  in  the  streets,  and  my  mother  felt  safe  as  well  allowing  her  three   boys  the  reasonable  freedom  we’d  exercise  distance  wise  from  home.  Just  as  long  as   we  as  a  collective  group  together  as  brothers  be  accountable  and  made  in  home  like   many  of  our  friends  at  a  time  or  should  I  say  universally  when  the  street  light  came   on  (especially  during  school  nights).    On  the  weekends  or  the  summer  of  course   we’d  be  allocated  more  time  to  stay  out  but  at  least  then  a  parent  was  comfortable.  
    •   2     As  a  kid  it  was  marvelous  and  overwhelming  feeling  of  happiness  each  and  every   day  just  laughing  and  playing  with  my  friends  everyday.  Next  door  in  the  entire   building  505  there  was  the  Chandler  family  and  if  I  named  everyone  of  them  I’d  have   to  write  a  full  chapter  lol  I  loved  the  entire  Chandler  family  my  partner  in  crime  back   then  was  Nathanial  aka  Tanny.  Or  in  507  we  had  the  Benjamin  family  or  the   Caldwell’s  Simms  and  Mincey’s  I  would  literally  walk  straight  into  every  apartment   in  that  building  too.  I’d  be  welcome  freely  to  eat  or  do  anything  I  wanted  as  long  as  I   was  on  my  best  behavior  of  course.  And  in  my  building  503  the  Williams  brothers   Harry  aka  Hamburger  –George  aka  NY-­‐Gary  aka  Nike-­‐Jerry  aka  LA  and  big  Eddie  aka   Buzz  Prioleau  was  like  my  big  brother  along  with  Charlie  Chandler  back  then.   Closely  knit  family  a  parents  dream  come  true  not  having  one  minute  ever  to  have  to   worry  about  your  child  but  of  course  mine  still  did.     Imagine  having  3  boys  all  one  year  a  part  in  age  from  one  another  the  fears  my   mother  probably  lived  with  everyday?  We  did  absolutely  everything  together  and  I   mean  everything.  We  had  the  same  friends  played  the  same  sports  and  at  times  my   brother  even  stole  a  girlfriend  or  two  of  mine  lol  but  we  did  it  all  together.  At  night   we’d  all  converge  on  the  steps  of  the  Miller  Branch  Library  and  fraternize  listening   to  music  at  a  very  moderate  level  respectfully  talking  singing  snapping  jokes  and   playing  chess.  Yes  all  of  the  boys  young  and  old  Bobby  Stewart  who  was  always  a   chess  wiz  beating  people  almost  twice  his  age.  Jessie  Jackson  being  a  great  player   then  as  well.  People  coming  from  all  around  at  our  meeting  place  one  big  family   nothing  but  young  black  teenagers  the  best  time  of  our  lives.       A  place  where  we  all  cried  like  the  following  day  when  our  big  brother  Alan   Chandler  died  I  remember  who  I  couldn’t  stop  crying  for  over  a  month  everyday  me   and  Tanny  were  heartbroken.  I  remember  Herman  Chandler  giving  me  a  quarter   every  time  he  saw  me  no  matter  what  or  Odell  Chandler  calling  me  asking  me  about   school  in  the  middle  of  a  ball  game.    Or  me  and  Dereck  Aycox  reciting  Bugs  Bunny   episodes  word  for  word  spontaneously  and  laughing  as  the  rest  of  our  crew  thought   we  was  crazy  the  best  times  of  my  entire  life  I  thought  it  would  never  change.     But  one  day  it  did  I  remember  maybe  being  about  12  I  think  and  we  were  playing   baseball  on  Sackett  Street  near  the  lot.  A  man  appear  from  a  van  that  had  stalled  out   apparently  running  out  of  gas  right  in  the  middle  of  our  game.  He  ask  us  all  to  help   him  push  the  van  to  the  side  we  all  compiled  he  then  produce  the  keys  holding  them   up.  He  then  ask  “who  here  is  the  oldest”  Nate  aka  Tanny  replied  “I  am”  the  man  then   appointed  him  in  charge  of  the  van  stating  he’d  be  back  soon  to  get  in.  Only  one  I   repeat  only  one  door  work  throughout  the  entire  van  it  was  so  funny  it  became  our   unofficial  club  house  and  after  two  weeks  there  it  was  the  main  hangout  for  the  boys   in  my  age  range.  Especially  since  the  older  teenagers  didn’t  always  include  us  in   everything.       And  on  one  night  while  seemingly  every  kid  in  our  neighborhood  was  inside  the  van   the  police  came  down  the  block  with  lights  flashing.  It  was  like  a  fire  started  kids  
    •   3   jumping  out  of  one  window  on  the  passenger  side  remember  the  doors  were  not   working  screaming  and  hollering  and  pushing  it  was  comical  all  until  the  police   approach  the  vehicle  and  they  did  something  I  have  never  forgotten  about  my  entire   life.  As  Greg  Chandler  I  believe  tried  to  exit  the  vehicle  one  of  the  Caucasian  police   officers  place  his  gun  on  the  side  of  his  head  while  he  was  exiting  the  window  and   said  loudly  “make  one  more  move  nigger  and  your  dead”.       The  pandemonium  was  unbelievable  kids  screaming  and  crying  begging  the  cop  not   to  shoot  our  friend  as  his  partner  a  police  officer  who  we  knew  who  was  African   American  (Mr.  White)  looked  on  then  he  implored  his  partner  to  holster  his  weapon.   Then  the  Caucasian  officer  order  ever  single  kid  who  hadn’t  escaped  the  van  to  lie   down  face  first  on  the  pavement  on  the  street  with  the  flood  lights  of  the  police  cars   pointed  directly  at  us.  Lined  up  in  a  row  maybe  about  8  to  9  kids  ranging  from  ages   11  years  to  14  years  old  with  their  faces  on  the  ground.  The  only  thing  I  could  think   of  was  the  beating  I  knew  my  mother  was  going  to  give  me  as  my  brother  Brad  kept   saying  it  over  and  over  again  from  a  distance  on  the  side.  Then  suddenly  as  I  look  to   my  left  to  the  main  street  Communipaw  Avenue  while  in  tears  laying  on  the  right   side  of  my  face  I  saw  a  green  colored  Le  Sabre  slow  down  and  then  back  up  and  stop.     My  worst  nightmare  had  become  a  reality  my  mother  had  arrived  on  the  scene.     The  first  words  that  came  out  of  my  mother  mouth  not  evening  knowing  her  own   son  was  on  the  ground  was  directed  right  at  the  police  officer  she  knew  Mr.  White   was  “what  in  the  hell  are  all  these  young  black  kids  doing  on  the  ground  in  the   middle  of  the  street”  telling  Mr.  White  you’d  better  get  these  kids  off  of  these  ground   right  now,  Mr.  White  was  a  bit  tentative  of  speaking  up  to  his  partner  who  was   obviously  a  racist  but  if  you  know  my  mother  of  course  she  had  no  problems   speaking  up.  By  then  she’s  already  notice  I  was  one  of  the  kids  on  the  ground  and   not  one  time  did  she  say  anything  was  motivated  because  of  me  it  was  because  she   was  protecting  every  single  child  on  the  ground  at  gunpoint.  She  curse  the  officer   out  so  bad  and  threaten  officer  White  like  there  was  no  tomorrow  and  finally  White   got  his  partner  to  release  all  of  us.  My  mother  told  everyone  to  get  home  in  the   house  asap  and  told  me  “when  I  get  home  you’re  going  to  wish  you  went  to  jail”.   She  stayed  behind  I  was  told  reading  the  riot  act  to  both  the  officers  having  no   regard  about  what  they  cared  or  said  she  was  only  worried  about  the  children  not   just  hers  each  and  everyone  that  laid  on  the  ground  at  gunpoint.     Our  children  in  this  society  today  all  of  them  in  particularly  African  American   children  are  all  being  held  at  gunpoint  one  wrong  move  comment  or  gesture  and  in   an  instance  their  lives  can  be  taken  away.  Is  it  a  child’s  fault  today  that  he  growth   spurt  today  is  accelerated  because  of  what’s  injected  into  food  products  today  and   the  kid  has  the  body  of  a  mature  adult?  Is  it  the  fault  of  a  child  that  when  he’s   wearing  a  garment  like  a  hooded  sweatshirt  that  an  insecure  man  might  view  it  as   imposing?  But  the  question  that  must  be  ask  most  importantly  is  should  a  child  be   victimized  or  targeted  just  because  he  is  of  African  American  decent?    
    •   4   Our  children  are  an  endangered  species  and  black  like  me  it  is  true  but  I  am   wondering  if  every  man  of  African  American  decent  who  can  speak  up  will  speak   up?  No  more  pictures  or  headlines  no  longer  speaking  as  a  politician  or  standing   with  one?  No  longer  doing  it  for  a  brand  or  for  favor  doing  it  for  simply  one  reason   and  that  is  because  it’s  the  right  thing.  I  know  African  American  men  who  are  doing   well  who  simply  don’t  care  at  all  about  where  they  once  may  have  lived  and   currently  may  even  have  family  living  their  still.  Living  for  themselves  exploiting   their  own  people  and  that  makes  it  so  easy  for  anyone  to  do  anything  harmful  to  us   when  we  are  cognizant  or  even  acknowledge  the  fact  that  we  are  now  truly  living  as   if  we’re  an  endangered  species.       Our  children  are  an  endangered  species  and  black  like  me  but  sadly  I  wonder  how   many  of  us  even  remember  that  we’re  black?         Pray  for  the  family  of  Trayvon  Martin.   And  always  in  my  hometown  #prayjcpray.     Respectfully,   THE  WHEEL   (The  Way  Humanity/Hudson  Expects  Everyone  to  Live)