I’m taking a class called America, the Frontier, and the New West, for a category 1 general education class. I’m really enjoying it and actually thinking about adding a minor in Southern California. Yes, “southern california” is actually a minor. (I’ve already taken 12 units toward the minor and only need 10 more units to finish it hehe)
Anyways, we had to do a very interesting paper for the class. In order to complete the paper, we interviewed 5 different people of different backgrounds, races, ages, sexes, etc. in Los Angeles. Our main goal was to model our papers on a play entitled “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992,” by Anna DeVeare Smith. In the book, Smith interviews hundreds of people about the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. I really enjoyed the project, and though that one of my interviews was very interesting, so I wanted to share the interview with all of you. Through completing the project, I learned a lot about the city, and I really stepped out of my comfort zone in order to complete the project. It is a little vulgar, but it is what he said:
Johnny Come Lately
Walter, ex-convict, 60 years old, been in Los Angeles since 1952 in Los Angeles
(A grungy African-American man wearing a dirty once white undershirt under a grey sweatshirt, blue “Walt Disney” blue wind jacket, black fake leather jacket. He is wearing a black hat on his head with black sunglasses. Hasn’t shaved in days. Sitting in a chair next to a walker. He his sitting near the Starbucks on the corner of Jefferson and Hoover.)
I know everybody in LA
I can’t stand ‘em can’t stand ‘em
And an an an an
It’s so black an an an an
I did 17 years of my life
Robbery and murder.
I was here in sixty-five…the Watts riots.
The ’92 riots is Johnny come lately but the the Watts riots…
How old was I…I was knee-high to the grass
But my my my I was here I was here when they set this town on fire
And and the Rodney King riots I was in it to win it
Hey listen my mother, God bless her soul. My Mother. Watched them
Put me in the car
And I’m handcuffed in the backseat Newton Street.
And the police grabbed me and choked me out.
They improved after Rodney King…it was pitiful…
On the east side…we wasn’t no joke…we was in it to win it
Kill one of us. Kill two of us. If you kill one of us, we’re gonna kill fity-eight of y’all.
The bottom of his shoe…the police hit me right in my face.
And all I see is light…
That’s what the po-lice said…outta kill you nigga
Damn they cut both my wrists.
Before I die ima spit on one you mother fuckers.
I did seventeen years of my life.
Seventeen years of my life I lost…(begins to cry).
If I did seventeen years of my life I can do seventeen more…
I was in the lieutenant’s office…he whiter than you.
He told me don’t come back, and I did.
What they did
They disrespected us.
But I’m not gonna die a coward. Not me, not me, not me.
But they gotta answer to God.
I’ve been there. Done that. And Forgot about it.
I tell ‘em my name.
I don’t lie about my name ‘cuz that’s the name my mother gave me.
I may lie to the police
But I ain’t gonna lie to ya’ll.
And I been there, done that, and forgot about it.
☮♥ =) arianna