Remember The Projects?

robert taylor homes - chicagoganghistory.com

12/15/2014

Chicago, IL

 

Public housing.  I did not grow up living in public housing but, I have the memories just the same.  When I was younger, public housing had stigma.  It was full of crime and poverty.  We were not supposed to go to the “Projects”.

 

At the same time, I got a job at the Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club working for Ken Dunkin who was not yet a politician.  Right near 55th and Federal.  (For my out of town readers The Robert Taylor Homes was where this particular Boys and Girls Club was located).  At the Club was where I also met, Torre Torrey and she gave me her demo. (Years later she sang a chorus for Kanye West).  I started publishing my poetry on poetics and politics.com in addition to my day job.

 

​Ken Dunkin marched and did activism for public housing.  I was making beats and struggling with my website.

 

​He decided to run for public office, I decided to go work for a start-up.

​I realized that I needed to learn how to do production and decided to go back to school and study multimedia production.

 

​One of my relatives is part of a documentary video production team that did work on a video about public housing.  I got to look at the B roll.  I saw images of Cabrini Green.  There were ratholes and trash.  It was a scene out of a horror movie.

 

The work was so compelling that they went and documented the “projects” in other cities.  I submitted music for the soundrack.

 

A couple of years later, as outcry over the squalid conditions of the “Projects” became more visible, my city decided to tear down the “Projects” for a plan that favored mixed income housing.

 

Soon after, I ran into State Representative Ken Dunkin at my cousin’s dance recital.

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