Our America : Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1998-05-01
  • Publisher: Scribner

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $0.53
    Check/Direct Deposit: $0.50
List Price: $16.00 Save up to $15.00
  • Rent Book $4.99
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Used and Rental copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Through two award-winning National Public Radio documentaries, and now thispowerful book, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman have made it their mission to be loud voices from one of this country's darkest places, Chicago's Ida B. Wells housing project. Set against the stunning photographs of a talented young photographer from the projects,Our Americaevokes the unforgiving world of these two amazing young men, and their struggle to survive unrelenting tragedy. With a gift for clear-eyed journalism, they tell their own stories and others, including that of the death of Eric Morse, a five-year-old who was dropped to his death from the fourteenth floor of an Ida B. Wells apartment building by two other little boys.Sometimes funny, often painful, but always charged with their dream ofOur America,LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman reach out to grab your attention and break your heart.

Author Biography

LeAlan Jones attends Florida State University, where he is majoring in criminology. LeAlan is the National Junior Spokesperson for No Dope Express and has lectured across the country. His honors for the radio documentaries Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse include the Livingston Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, and the grand prize from the Robert F. Kennedy journalism Awards -- the first time a radio program has ever received that honor.

Table of Contents

Preface 11(2)
Dr. Cornel West
Acknowledgments 13(4)
Introduction 17(6)
David Isay
Author's Note 23(2)
A Ghetto Glossary 25(4)
Part I Life---1993
The Beginning
The `Hood
Kicking It
Ghetto Getaway
Peace Out: 1993
Part II Death---1995
The Scene of the Crime
From the Outside, Looking In
A Breakthrough
Juvenile Justice
Falling Through the Cracks
Both Sides of the Law
Shorties in the 'Hood
Closer Than We Imagined
Part III Life---1996
The Maze
The 'Hood
Parting Words
Our America


Chapter 2, The Hood

Our neighborhood is a fun neighborhood if you know what you're doing. If you act like a little kid in this neighborhood, you're not gonna last too long. 'Cause if you play childish games in the ghetto, you're gonna find a childish bullet in your childish brain. If you live in the ghetto, when you're ten you know everything you're not supposed to know. When I was ten I knew where drugs came from. I knew about every different kind of gun. I knew about sex. I was a kid in age but my mind had the reality of a grown-up, 'cause I seen these things every day!

Like when I was eight years old, my cousin Willy had a friend named Baby Tony and another friend, Little Cecil. They used to hang out -- watch TV, go to the park and hoop, sell drugs. They all went to jail. When Baby Tony came out he was walking through the park when a boy lit him up and blew his face off. His face was entirely blown off. And then a couple of days later Little Cecil sold somebody a dummy bag of plaster from off the walls, so the man who was using it came back and asked him for his money back. Little Cecil took off running and the man shot him. And Cecil was dead. That was both of my cousin's friends that died in one week! And I heard about this when I was eight! I had just seen Baby Tony the day before he died.

It's like Vietnam. I remember one time I was over at my auntie's house spending the night. We were playing Super Nintendo and I heard this lady say, "I heard you been looking for me, nigger!" Then she just -- BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! She let off about eight shots. Then I heard the other gun fire off. And we were just still there playing like nothing happened. In Vietnam, them people came back crazy. I live in Vietnam, so what you think I'm gonna be if I live in it and they just went and visited? Living around here is depressing! It's depressing! Just look outside -- this isn't Wally and the Beaver!

- - - - - - -

It's Friday afternoon after school, and we're going to take you on a tour of our neighborhood. It's about sixty degrees today -- feels good out. Walking down the streets. See an abandoned building, graffiti on the wall. See some little kids playing on a little shopping cart that they got from Jewel Supermarket.

Walking by some abandoned houses -- looks like some Scud missiles just bombed them out. A lot of trash here -- glass and things. Used to be little snakes in this field in the summertime and we'd catch them. People out here pitching pennies. Houses boarded up.

Walking through puddles of water. Bums on the street. An abandoned church. A helicopter. There goes somebody we thought was dead -- guess he ain't dead.

By the old library, which is no longer in business -- there was a murder in there last year and they closed it down. See a "Rest in Peace" sign. Birds flying. There's the store that they burned down when the Bulls won the championship. Going by the gas station where they sell liquor and food. Now we see some spray paint that says: "Justice for Rodney King/Revolution Is the Only Solution."

Now we're walking in the Ida Bees, which is 50 percent boarded up. Now we're by Lloyd's house. Abandoned apartments. Brokedown basketball hoops. We see little kids just sitting around looking at us.

Now we're walking in the parking lot where they play loud music in the summertime. Little trees growing up in the concrete cracks. See a trash dumpster and graffiti. See an airplane overhead. A bum walking down the street. We're walking through the ghetto. Our neighborhood.

Copyright ©1997 by LeAlan Jones, Lloyd Newman, and David Isay

Excerpted from Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago by Lealan Jones, Lloyd Newman, David Isay
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Rewards Program

Write a Review