After being away from my home town of Philadelphia for about 25 years - when I drive through parts of West Philly that used to be off limits to Black pedestrians that desired to retain their ability to walk - I feel like I have been placed in a time machine.
In West Philly - 63rd Street was the dividing line between Black and White. We didn't go into their community - they didn't come into ours.
Fast forward to 2012 and all of this has changed.
The entire area of "Overbrook Park" is now predominately Black.
I am still grieving over the fact that my "Ghetto Ruby Tuesdays" was shut down a few years ago and is now a Chinese take out restaurant. "Harriett's Bar" that was on 63rd and Lancaster was shut down several years ago after someone decided to shoot up the place. This used to be the best place for me to return home and see so many of the people that I grew up with.
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When I think of 66th and Lansdowne I think of a place where you were sure to be called a "Ninja" and chased back across 63rd Street by Italian Catholic School boys if you were Black.
The ironic point of the moment is - that while I do know some Black people who were jumped by White boys "back in the day" (late 1970's and 80's) it was TODAY that 2 Black people got shot in the area - this as the area is predominately Black.
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This Used To Be West Philly's "Sundown Town" - 24 Hours A Day
I am intimately familiar with this corner. In my mind I know "YOU DON'T GET OFF THE BUS ON THIS CORNER". To see the video above where a crowd of Black people are hanging out at this bar is a shock to my sensibilities that were formed in the early 80's.
Recall that when I traveled to Philly about 2 months ago and posted that (what I assumed to be) a Black woman was murdered on 65th Street - a person from the area responded to my post to correct me. It was a White woman who was shot by a Black male. It appeared to be more important to get the racial identification correct than the fact that this community has increased in its dysfunction. (Or is it that it only changed in its dysfunction from RACIAL enforcement of turf to the inability to see past the threat from the person in front of you in a conflict - who now is more likely to be of the same race?)
The painful truth about the condition of this area is that there are a small amount of present occupants that are proving the bigoted fears of the White folks that moved out en masse true AND are terrorizing the majority of hard working Black people who moved to the area with the goal of making positive contributions to the community.
Like the biblical story of the people who were freed from bondage and then lost in the wilderness - the story at 66th and Lansdowne is one of physical expansion into areas that they were a short time ago not allowed to trek as their sight caused molestation by their long time adversary. As the hostilities eased - not only did they see expansion into this once forbidden area - they brought their demons along with them.