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The Baldwin School: Yesterday and Today

The Baldwin School, Yesterday and Today


Barbara Collier
Clip 4—Decline of the Neighborhood

AH: You said earlier the people in the community started to leave. Do you know why they left, or what happened in the community that was there?

BC: When they integrated the schools and stuff? Okay, like I said, they started all these programs where you could get this, you could get that, you could get this. And what happened, and this is the truth, people stopped working as hard and they started expecting a handout. So therefore, the neighborhood started going down. “Well, I won’t do this because I can go and get this, and they’ll come and fix my house, or whatever, they’ll come and do this.”
They started doing something called urban renewal, where they would come in and fix the community, you know. And people started going and get loans or grants or something to fix their houses, so people started—stopped working as hard. And like I said, the community started to run down. They started building these projects where people could live, depending on their income. People stopped working. Well if I can go live in the projects for free, well then, you know, and I can go and they’ll feed me for free, well I can create this whole game where I can live off the fat of the land. I can just, you know, sit back, watch TV all day, and get my handout. And that’s what happened.
That’s how the community deteriorated. They started giving us stuff, giving us stuff, giving us stuff. “Well, I don’t have to work.” But when the community started deteriorating, we moved. We just kept moving, moving, moving. And to this day I work every day. And that’s how we got so separated. We got poor-poor, we got middle-poor, we got middle-class, lower-class. Some people just decided to keep working. Other people decided to stay in the projects generation after generation after generation. That’s what happened.