Our America by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman was based on the life story of Ida.B Wells, which is in the south side of Chicago. Ida.B Wells was the big housing projects, where many African Americans lived, and also it had big two apartments for the residents. These two apartments were for poor class African Americans because they did not have any resources to get out from here. David Isay, a journalist decided to do documentation on the poor housing projects in Chicago and did it through using two African American kids who lived there. He actually went to the town and talked to LeAlan and Lloyd about making documentation, Ghetto 101, which portrayed the story of their daily lives and interviewed important people around them. There were so many African American men and women dying for no reason David Isay thought people need to have the clear sense of living in the poor and unsecure environment because he wanted to change the lives of so many African American in the south side of Chicago. In the beginning of story, LeAlan and Lloyd talked about their relationships to each other. It was important to acknowledge that they are close friend because it would be really difficult to go around dangerous place like Ida.B Wells and interview people. One of the important reasons for the succession of this book was that they collaborated each other and always support one another. Even though they hung out with typical African American kids, they were able to step out from that group. The music “With a little help from my friends” by the Beatles has the connection about the relationship between LeAlan and Llyod. This song talks about how friends could be really helpful and the importance of friends. If LeAlan and Lloyd did not help each other, the book would not be produced and people would not be able to know about how serious and dangerous the life in Ida B.Wells. When LeAlan and Lloyd introduced about their neighborhood, they talked about the gun shooting and how people dealt with it. The story of LeAlan’s cousin Willy showed the example of it. His two close friends Baby Tony and Little Cecil ended up dying because of the gun shooting. When Little Ceil sold the fake cocaine to the man, he immediately shot him. After LeAlan and Llyod came out from the Mr.Johnson’s restaurant, they met the shorty, who never saw him before. Then, they asked him if he was selling the drugs and find out that he was selling rocked-up cocaine. The ironic part was that he was only thirteen and knew about everything just like full grown adult. He had to sell it in order to get money and also carried the gun just in case someone steals his drugs. LeAlan and Llyod were not favored about his behavior of all of these actions. In the neighborhood of Ida B.Wells, the gun shooting was the normal life for people and even the children who lived there. Some of people described it as the Vietnam War because they could hear the gun fire every single day and had to be careful not getting shot. People never know when they will die. The song “Changes” by Tupac showed the life of Ghetto, which portrays that the gun played the huge part of it. Also, it expresses that your life of future will not be guaranteed. In the lyrics, Tupac rapped about how there is no point living in this life and has no clear future for everyone who lives in the Ghetto because it was hard for them to support themselves financially. It had been this way for long time of period. Because you have to watch out for your own lives, you have to be nervous and live a depressing life as an African American. Since so many children were exposed to guns and drugs on the streets, they thought it was normal to sell drugs and shoot people. When Eric Morse fell from the fourteenth floor of apartment in 1995, it became the serious news for the nation and Ida B.Wells. The victim of this murder was one ten years old and eleven years old boys, which made the media and people more shocked. They were wondering how these two boys could have dropped 5 year old kid. After this murder, LeAlan and Llyod decided to interview people around them in order to find the motivation behind the murder. Then later, they find out that the piece of candy caused this killing. The song “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A clearly had connection to this crime scene because the rappers talked about the violence against each other. They could kill anyone who bothered and disparaged them. At the same time, they were not afraid of killing people. There is this hatred feeling toward people in the music.Talks about the song’s origins and time period After the murder of Eric Morse, LeAlan and Lloyd went to meet Vince Lane, the chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). Vince Lane talked about the overall image of Ida. B.Wells and the life on the street. He mainly portrays that there are the difference between safe community and housing projects. There are so much healthy things like playing sports and watching movie to do in safe community. On the other hand, people in housing projects do not have any access to those activities and ended up doing negative stuffs. As a result, they just stuck there for rest of their lives. Most kids do not have anywhere to go on the street. The song “The Message” by the Grandmaster Flash expressed the poor community like housing projects as the jungle and how hard it is to get out from this community. Also, it described how unsanitary and dirty this place is. For example, the Grandmaster Flash said “People Pissing on the Stairs, They just don’t care.” Because they were living in unsanitary place, they would not be happy with their lives and more likely to end up committing a criminal. This song particularly has a blues impulse in it, which made it more appeal to the African Americans in the Ida B.Wells. They were mainly concerned about how they are going to survive the next day. When LeAlan and Llyod went to the ninth floor of apartment, they met the boy named Issac and his sister Tymeka and asked them about what had happened when Eric Morse fell from the fourteenth floor. As they talked, Tymeka began to talk about his little cousin Dovontae and compared him to Johnny, who was involved in the criminal scene. When Dovontae became stubborn and nonchalant toward her, she just grabbed him and showed the true love toward him. As soon as, he felt the love by Tymeka, he began to cry so hard because he held on to so many burdens to himself, and those burdens were too heavy for him. So, the main point was that even the most stubborn and evil person could be changed if he or she could feel the true love by someone. In the song “Where is the Love” by Black Eyed Peas, it portrayed that people were getting hurt and did terrible things because they did not feel any love by anyone. Most people in the Ida. B.Wells could not feel loved by someone because their current situations were terrible, and most parents failed to teach their children how to give love to other people. If Johnny and Tyrone felt the love from their parents or friends, they would not be turned as the evil and stubborn people and would live a peaceful life with full of joy. After the first major gang war in The Wells in the summer of 1996, LeAlen and Lloyd decided to interview Helen Finner, who was the president of the Ida B. Wells for long time of period, in order to find out how it changed since 1968. She was basically saying that it was the prettiest and peaceful city in the southern Chicago. Even though Gangs and Drugs were big causes of this city, the unemployment rate was the biggest problem. People need money to live their lives. Since most people in the Ida B. Wells did not have jobs, they just went for drug and earned money from selling it. The environment around here ruined so many young men’s lives. Most teens had to be in the gang in order to fit into the group of people. But once you were in the gang, there was no way out from it, and you do not know when you will get killed from the gang war. She wished that the government would do something about this city because she really felt uncomfortable about the fact many of young lives were taken everyday. In the song “Keep on Bringing Me Down” by Forever the Sickest Kids, even people tried to climb up to the higher level, something was keep pulling people down to the bottom and prevented them to going up. In the context of the people in the Ida B. Wells, some people did not want to involve in gang life and wanted to live a comfortable life. But, the people around them like their friends, parents, and other financial issues influenced the choice of their lives. Since they could not do anything about it, they thought it would be just better to join the gang. Therefore, the environment itself in the Ida B.Wells ultimately resulted in the murder of Eric Morse and other gang wars. After Lloyd talked about his future plans, he went to talk to his nephew, Mookie. The purpose of Lloyd talking to him was that Lloyd wanted him to live a different life than any other people in here by providing the option. The option was that Mookie should go to the college when he reaches that age. One of the ways to get out of this place was going to the college and got a good job to live in different places. The song “In The Ghetto” by Eric B and Rakim related to the conversation between Lloyd and Mookie. In the song, Rakim never denied that he was part of ghetto, but he did not let it define him. Also it was saying that you can transform who you are right now and escape the current situation, which showed the elements of gospel and jazz impulse. LeAlen and Lloyd did really good job of showing the life of Ida B. Wells by interviewing each of the person who was actually significant to the city. Because they were able to write this book, people and even the government had strong sense about the life of poor housing project in the south side of Chicago. It was really easy to not know about people in those areas because we would not think that these events would actually happen. In 2005, the Ida B.Wells was demolished for the new development. Therefore, the book Our America impacted the people in the United States and had sympathy toward African Americans who lived in that area.
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