The playground was made of 12×12 inch pressure-treated Douglas Fir in lengths from three to eighteen feet. The photos say everything. There still is a park there today. The timber is gone, there is a Head Start Center, a fire station/rescue station, and new housing has replaced the tenements that Hilton Als described as burning.
I was on the steps with new beginning thoughts. He was the one demanding to know why I was there, doing “stupid shit”, and I said it was to finish the playground and a place for community theater or shows, pointing to the trellis. The genius of rage came right up into my face at that moment. All he said was I was “a lame, white motherfucker, it’s too late, too fuck’n late, and walked up the steps past me.”
The Genius of Rage
In his closing, Hilton Als read a portion of the Homecoming essay saying, “and now it is happening to you,” and that is when that whole experience of Brownsville came rushing back into my life. (here) I have both of their thoughts in my mind now, Hilton’s and the guy with the knife. It is still happening and it is too late.
This post is motivated by another place-based examination of community development. It is an experiment of mine in looking back at the history of Lincoln Square/Center as an attempt to compare it to the recent five-year build of City Center (here). I’m guessing, but I think the thread of it might be displacement as the transitional function of institutional racism, a cycle of recurrence that must be stopped.