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The uptown kids : struggle and hope in the projects

Author: Terry M Williams; William Kornblum
Publisher: New York : Putnam, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Inner-city housing projects can be good places to rear children. Parents in the projects struggle against great odds to instill in their children the values we all cherish. A Harlem renaissance is taking place today, spearheaded by teenagers who are producing a new world culture of music, art, and fashion.
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Williams, Terry M. (Terry Moses), 1948-
Uptown kids.
New York : Putnam, ©1994
(OCoLC)624350567
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Terry M Williams; William Kornblum
ISBN: 0399138870 9780399138874
OCLC Number: 29518865
Notes: "A Grosset/Putnam book."
Includes index.
Description: 256 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: The Public Housing Opportunity --
Ch. 1. The Kids Uptown --
Ch. 2. Building Community and Getting Respect --
Ch. 3. Life of the Mind: Culture, Rap, and School --
Ch. 4. Rap and the Coca-Cola Culture --
Ch. 5. Discipline and Temptation --
Ch. 6. Death and Escape --
Ch. 7. Home in the Projects --
Ch. 8. Growing Up --
Ch. 9. Building on the Strengths of the Projects.
Responsibility: Terry Williams and William Kornblum.

Abstract:

Inner-city housing projects can be good places to rear children. Parents in the projects struggle against great odds to instill in their children the values we all cherish. A Harlem renaissance is taking place today, spearheaded by teenagers who are producing a new world culture of music, art, and fashion.

Over the past fifteen years, inner-city housing projects have come to symbolize everything that is wrong with urban America: drug use, violence, teenage pregnancy, and the breakdown of the family. Against this harsh backdrop, sociologists Terry Williams and William Kornblum paint a very different picture, one full of energy, talent, and hope.

Told largely in the words and through the stories of a handful of Harlem teenagers, The Uptown Kids is the first book in twenty-five years to take a serious look at the lives of people in New York City's public housing projects.

Williams and Kornblum, the authors of Growing Up Poor, set out to discover what made New York's good public housing work, in contrast to the famous Chicago and St. Louis failures. In addition to standard research, Williams started something he called the Harlem Writers Crew, comprising teenagers who kept journals and met weekly to discuss their experiences.

Five years later, The Uptown Kids relates the stories of young people facing the dual challenges of poverty and racism, but somehow enduring and succeeding. We learn what it is like to see a friend killed on the street, and to take part in a gang fight; how a teenage father can assume responsibility for raising his son and do a splendid job; and how a high school dropout on probation for selling drugs can turn his back on the street. We learn how important having a baby is to a teenage unwed mother whose goal in life is to become a writer - and how she moves from welfare through high school equivalency to a good job.

We meet raw talent in music and dance, and we see the pressures that many gifted Harlem kids suffer when they are plucked from the projects to attend exclusive private schools and Ivy League colleges.

What the authors tell us most affectingly is that the only thing these kids need is the occasional helping hand, the same kind of support middle- and upper-class teenagers receive. The talent, drive, and energy that exist in housing projects in New York and throughout this great country can be harnessed for our common good or driven underground. It is our choice, and The Uptown Kids opens our eyes, as never before, to that choice.

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