The Three

First day of sixth grade at a new school - middle school. It's a big building that includes the old Sav-a-Lot grocery store building where Tahijah and I used when we didn't have time for better (farther away). Around the corner and up the Avenue, less than half a mile from the Howard Street house where the book is set.

When I saw them last I took them around to the house, and then the park where they rode their first swing and climbed their first trees. They played baseball with some adults from the block and played well, Damear hitting a grandslam.

I hope he remembered it walking into that big new school, where they were the youngest and not the oldest and mom was a bus ride not a short walk away.

"Your dad drive you?" I asked them when they called last night. "No!" (we're not babies). "We took The Three."

The three bus. I remember the three bus. If I write another book about all this, which I am not believe me planning on doing (but...), I'll call it The Three. Three was one title option for WWU, an option my publisher didn't like much.

They'll be okay. Their parents raised them to survive in North Philly's tough streets and schools. But thrive? What is thriving in a place like that, in a time like this? It's enough that they should keep loving one another, their parents, themselves. Keep growing.

I'll ask what I asked before, in the book - can you do more, to make this a world worth growing into, for young black teens (almost), and men (eventually).

Which leads me to comments on Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Soon.

ps - 1st day pic when/if Tahija sends me it.

Congratulations Horace Seldon

White anti-racist activists have a hero and role model in Horace Seldon, founder of Boston's Community Change, Inc.

Seldon recently received the Public Citizen of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

My niece Jenny and I were fortunate to to receive a tour of Black Boston from Seldon, who is semi-retired from his years with the national park Service giving tours. It was a cold windy day but we were glad we were there. Hard to keep up with Mr. Seldon, in more ways than one.

A new school

Mom has managed to get the trips into an in-demand charter school. I know - the teachers aren't unionized, they experiment on students, they abet segregation - but in the Philadelphia public school system they're a life raft in choppy seas and it was not easy to secure three spots on the same raft.

Art, sports and music - this school has 'em. So look out junior high. The triplets are on their way. And guess what - the new school is in their old neighborhood; where you were born, I told them when we visited a few weeks back. And that park, Norris Square? Your first park, your first trees, your first swings.

They'll be taking the subway or a city bus a few miles south, back into the Badlands. That's why I walked them through it, reminded them - this is yours. You can feel safe here, or as safe anyway as you feel up where you live now, where you know everyone.

And then we walked back from the school to Kaki's house, where five adults in recovery live now. The boys know them, played checkers with them.

"Leslie and Vince, and Mary - they'll be right close by. If there's an emergency at the school or something."

"Yeah like if someone gets shot," said little Lamarr.

That's the sort of thing they're thinking about, worrying about, as they enter--not high school--but sixth grade.

Arts, sports, music and (I pray) a way to make peace.