Shelf Life Community Story Project
Humanity. Home. History. Here.
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The Central Area is not a Wasteland

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

vivian phillips

One of the biggest things I think new residents should value is the fact that people held this space. The Central Area, as we know, was redlined. It's the only place that African Americans could live for a very long time. And the care and love that came with the residency is evident. It's not a wasteland. It's a very well cared for community...geographically, aesthetically. That came from African Americans, Asians, Italians...all of the people who could only live in a certain area. So it's not like, you know, you have all these new buildings, and "Oh god, I'm living in this new area, and it's mine." It's not yours. You didn't earn this. You're borrowing it. It's like because you just discovered something doesn't mean it's new. And I think one of the things that's been most disappointing to me about the way that new residents conduct themselves, specifically, is with a level of arrogance and privilege. We never had the luxury of having that kind of tone. There's also the element of economics. Where it saddens me that my kids will never be able to afford to live in the Central Area unless and until they live with me, or I die and leave them that property. Which I intend to do. It's sad!