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posted by alias HydeParkArtCenter on Monday 26th of September 2011 08:14:29 PM

Mariah Driver plays Hide and Seek with her sisters outside her house on S. Chicago St. in Chicago's Pocket Town neighborhood. The family has since moved to the Englewood neighborhoodand the house, which was in decrepit condition, has been demolished to make way for new development by the Comer Foundation. This is a story about place. Pockettown, or “the Pocket,” is a tight-knit African-American neighborhood in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. In 2001, Gary Comer, founder of Lands’ End and a Pockettown native, asked me to teach photography at Paul Revere Elementary School and to document life in the neighborhood. A Revere alumnus, Comer was providing substantial resources through his foundation to his alma mater and childhood community, which had shifted from a white ethnic area to a predominately black neighborhood. I agreed. In January 2002 I began working at Revere and in the community. For the first 18 months I photographed primarily within the school. But I felt that my role needed to be more than a photographer, so I also coached basketball and worked on a community newspaper. As I became more known, I started to concentrate on life outside the school. Since 2000 the South Side has seen major changes, including the destruction of many Chicago Housing Authority projects and the continued gentrification of many communities bordering Lake Michigan. As part of documenting life in the Pocket, these photographs attempt to illustrate larger trends of renewal, change and transformation on the city’s South Side. The project also includes audio interviews with neighborhood residents that record their feelings about the changes occurring in their neighborhood. My hope is to stimulate dialogue about inequitable access to education, jobs and housing-in short, about opportunity and the meaning of community. I have few answers to these questions, but I’m not done looking. Before the mid-1950's it was a predominantly

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  • Published 02.02.23
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