Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh You Hate Harlem??? Pt.1...

We, being New York residents must always acknowledge the roots of our city. For those who are not natives of this wonderful place it may serve as a shocker to you that we actually have come from a very dark, disturbing period which many rather forget. Many children were birthed from a time where it wasn't fairly easy to grab a skateboard and stroll down 14th street while blasting Lupe's newest single.

In a multiple part series we will pass these visuals on to you.

Learn, New York.

" Everything in Harlem is black - except all business which are owned by whites and immigrants. The only stores that are not owned by whites, the street people will tell you, are the omnipresent funeral homes, since white undertakers will have nothing to do with black bodies. Being an undertaker is one of the surest ways of reaching middle-class status. For death is as ubiquitous in Harlem as the fear haunting everybody beneath the uneasy sporadic laughter. Yet I feel safer as a member of the ever-present invisible "$%*#@%" in Harlem than most blacks are, for as always in slavery, aggression is aimed towards fellow victims rather than towards the hated oppressor. "

" This funeral home next to a drug rehabilitation center illustrates clearly the unremitting choice you have in Harlem - the choice between an instant death or an enslaved life under The Man. Thousands of addicts choose the door on the left. "

" This woman is a living illustration of the constant choice in Harlem. A mad attacker had broken into her apartment and tried to kill her with a big knife. She survived by jumping out a window on the third floor - and was crippled for life. "

" They are not only victims of that violence, but are capable of hitting back with all the viciousness injected into them by the 'American way of life.' Often on the roofs of New York I helped tie up these bound souls. On certain street corners in Harlem you see thousands of addicts every day waiting for heroin."

" At night not even the police dare move in these neighborhoods from whose shooting galleries we sometimes could enjoy an incredible view of the "big needle" on the Empire State Building. In my vagabond years I could easily knock the guns from listless heroin addicts, but the far more dangerous crack today makes addicts so paranoid that they riddle everyone around with bullets. "

" This man, who had been an addict for 16 years, suffered from malnutrition and running sores all over his body. He was unable to find any more healthy spots to shoot up in and therefore had to take the foul-smelling bandage off his leg to find a vein. "

" He suffered terribly and knew all too well that he had less than two years left to live. Therefore he had nothing to lose, and urged me to show the pictures to the world in order to frighten other young people so that they should never come to suffer like himself. "

Stay tuned for more.


Anonymous said...

Powerful. Few People think of yesterday and how is that to far from tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

It's so easy to forget the NY of yesteryear where drug addicts filled certain neighborhoods and the homeless wandered aimlessly around Manhattan. Very powerful entry.

Eric Q said...

wow, as a recovering heroin addict i was always so curious as to how Harlem was in the 70s and 80s. You hear stories but these pictures are so real! Ya know, even coming from rural PA i lost 5 extremely close friends out of about an 8 person circle of users. 1 more is clean, 1 upstate, and 5 passed... Thank God we live where we do or maybe that 5 would be all 8.

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