City Letter to the Editor
Charles got a lovely letter just now in respone to Human Remains, his feature on crack heads and the evolution of the Central District (which you should read now if you haven’t yet).
I’ve been a Stranger reader for a long time. Since I can no longer trust the “unbiased” opinions of our daily “free press”, I look to the Stranger to keep me informed and straight. I love the sexy side, the political side, the human interest side, the comics, even the stranger ones….because they DO make sense to me. My circle of friends find the paper “weird” but if they would only opened their minds, I think they would surprise even themselves. Reading the paper was just what I was do when your article, “Human Remains,” stopped me cold. I read with great interest about my neighborhood, what is left of it, how it’s changed and why.
I grew up in the CD. Our family home is still located at 27th and Mercer. I went to Saint James Cathedral School, was baptized in the church, and went to Holy Names Academy High School. It was during my sophomore year that I had a Black awakening and helped start a Black Student Union at HNA. Out of over 400 students, blacks represented maybe 50, more or less. I transferred to Garfield High School in my junior year. I came in the midst of Black Power and Black Awareness, Black teachers, African American curriculum, what a cultural experience!! I walked to school everyday both at Holy Names and at Garfield and I remember when EVERY house I passed was Black owned. I remember Madison, Union, Jefferson, Yesler, Jackson, 23rd Avenue and MLK Way (or Empire Way) as it was called back then. These streets were our thoroughfares. What a vibrant neighborhood I lived in!
But I digress… While reading your article I had the pleasure of reading your reflections under “Black Twilight.” You quoted lyrics from Central Intelligence’s tune, “Aim For The Sky.” My son, Fred Cain II, is one of the founding members of the group. That CD was such a defining point in both my son’s and my life. It allowed me to look into his soul and realize what was really important to him, God, his family, his new daughter and her mother, his mom (me) !! I saw that I didn’t do too bad raising my son as a single mom. It was the fruit of many years of labor and weekly meetings. Then the CD was released. What a high!! The performance on public access television, public performances, the gig at the EMP, seeing a stack of them at Tower Records, (where I promptly moved them from the back to the front.) I was so proud. The whole CD was a look into the souls of these five young Black men and the places they grew up in and the lives they lived. Unfortunately the CD didn’t do well commercially because it was socially consciously rap, not gangsta rap, and the players, Fred, Kym, Grant, Sadace, and Damon weren’t criminals.
Fred continues to live in the CD because he saw what was happening. He knew once he left, he wouldn’t be able to afford to move back in. He is still rapping under the label,Grind Hard Records with his partner K-Stel. Thanks for the shout out to Central Intelligence, whose name was giving props to the 206, the CD.
P.S. I love your commentaries.