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Quotable Fri Jun 27 2008

Quotable Friday

Every Friday is Quotable Friday on the book club blog, where we highlight a notable passage from a book with a Chicago connection. This week's quotable is from Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago by Lealan Jones and Lloyd Newman. The authors were 13 years old when they conducted two award-winning National Public Radio documentaries in 1993 and 1995 about their experiences growing up in Chicago's Ida B. Wells Homes. This book is comprised of unused material from those broadcasts.

"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 going to 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 acme 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 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!"

 
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