I am NOT a modern day slave!

Lola Bean - Posted on 18 November 2010


As I write this story I can now begin to sit back and recall the days when I drifted in and out of homelessness.  I found it to be very strange that one can become homeless, and even though I had been able to find gainful employment, I still found myself living in shelters. 

I had some difficulty finding employment, I was thinking why was it so hard for me to get a job?  I am a Veteran of the U.S Armed Services, so what is the problem? The crazy thing about it all was that people of color seemed to be the poorest of all. I would often wonder, Why?

I remember reading a report by the U.S Census they had stated the African Americans are the poorest in America.  I had to dig deeper and do research to find out why African Americans are poorer than most other groups of people.  The oppression of slavery had the deepest impact on the African American community.  Even today in 2010 many African Americans still live on or below the poverty line.

Growing up I lived in communities that had two parent households, but during the 1970s there was an attack on African American families.  The men in our community were forced out of work and school and into prisons. African American men suffer one of the highest school dropout rates in the country.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 16% percent of African American men are unemployed.  And according to the US Census Bureau, 47% percent of African American men are incarcerated or on parole or probation.  Ebony Magazine, an African American national magazine, suggests this number is much higher.  African American women were forced into the welfare system, often having to play the roles of both mother and father.

I remember when I was a child people on the streets,  in shelters, standing in bread lines, sleeping in cars, in vans, in abandoned houses, as I got older, graduating from high school, then enlisting in the Navy and afterward.   I went through several months of hard luck, I was amongst America's down and out.

As I go through many African American neighborhoods today, not very much has changed.   I sit back and ponder on this a lot, and I keep asking myself, are we as African American men living in a new more modern day of slavery?

As I look at myself, now formerly homeless, I can recall the days when I was on the streets, having to been harassed by police, telling me to move on here and there.  I am now an advocate for homeless people. I fight for the civil rights of people in poverty.

I have been where the homeless have been. I am now with a street newspaper called Real Change, an advocacy Newspaper that educates the general public on homeless issues.  I also work with the National Coalition for the Homeless based in Washington DC, where I am connected with a street newspaper called Street Sense.  Now I am also a journalist for POOR Magazine and the International Network of Street Newspapers. 

But homelessness is an ongoing problem in America.  No matter who you are, you can become a victim of poverty.  Job losses, health problems, home foreclosures, abusive households, floods, earthquakes, and many other problems can create homelessness.  I focus on these issues and many, and I ask myself will this happen to me again?

Check out these articles and more on our sister sites at Real Change and the International Network of Street Newspapers: INSP Vendor Blog: http://www.insp-blog.org/ INSP Main Website: http://www.street-papers.org/ Real Change Blog: http://www.insp-blog.org/realchange/ Real Change Main Website: http://www.realchangenews.org/


...the oppression of slavery, you did take note of the fact that it ended in 1865, right?

I like your work from Bad News Bruce


Sign-up for POOR email!