My parents migrated to St. Louis from Aberdeen, Mississippi, expecting to build a good life for us. A year later, Daddy left us. He sent us Easter clothes and trunks full of toys during Christmas. He was not present and involved, but he sent packages!
We eventually moved into the Pruitt-Igoe housing projects. There were 33 11-story high-rise towers, 2,870 apartments and 10,000 residents on 57 acres. Blacks and whites were jammed together, sharing a community in spite of racial biases. Without the constant fear of drugs, violence and gunfire, we played outside all day long until the adults started separating us, imparting their racial beliefs on us children.
In the absence of my biological father, several men mentored me and provided rites of passage into manhood before I got married and became a father. My maternal grandfather, Mr. Arlegus Tate, taught me how to walk tall as man; he instilled work ethic and moral character. Deacon Hill’s strength was his duty to family and church. Read more here.