“Before the White People Left”

(p. A1) CHICAGO — The old guard of this city’s Roseland neighborhood, a community on the South Side famous for molding a young Barack Obama and infamous for its current blight, has never forgotten the fruit trees.

Back in the 1970s, before the full exodus of white residents, the erosion of local businesses, the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the disinvestment that followed, it was the trees that signaled the societal elevation of Black families — separating those who moved here from the urban high rises they fled. An apple tree greeted Antoine Dobine’s family in 1973, he said. The tree meant a yard. A yard meant a home. And a home meant a slice of the American dream, long deferred for Black Americans.

“Pear trees, peaches, apples, it was beautiful,” Mr. Dobine recalled. “Before the white people left.”

. . .

The fruit trees have been replaced with overgrown lots. Residents say gangs use the abandoned areas to stockpile weapons, which children sometimes find.

For the full story, see:

Astead W. Herndon. “Black Area Embraces Protests But Still Has No Grocery Store.” The New York Times (Wednesday, August 12, 2020): A1 & A21.

(Note: ellipsis added. The online version say that the New York print version had the title “In a Black Chicago Community, Doubt Defies Hope for Change.” My National print version had the title “Black Area Embraces Protests But Still Has No Grocery Store.”)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Aug. 28 [sic], 2020, and has the title “‘A Smoking Gun’: Infectious Coronavirus Retrieved From Hospital Air.”)

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