Nubian-supremacy, as evidenced by black Egypt past riches, has long been the rallying cry of Afrocentrists.
|If Ancient Egypt was Nubian, why can't similar glory be found in 85 percent black Gary?|
But life in 85 percent Gary in 2013 seems to provide all the evidence necessary to counter the mightiest boast of those "Ancient Egypt was black" enthusiasts. [A Chance to Own a Home for $1 in a City on the Ropes, New York Times, 8-15-13]:
As a tower of black smoke rose above this blighted city last week, a group of neighbors huddled across the street from a burning house, trying to guess which other vacant properties on their block would be arsonists’ next target.
“There’s so many,” said Tasha McMiller, 50, a resident dismayed by the estimated 10,000 abandoned homes here. “They’re a burden.”
Officials say that a third of the houses in Gary are unoccupied, hollowed dwellings spread across a city that, like other former industrial powerhouses, has lost more than half its population in the last half-century.
While some of those homes will be demolished, Gary is exploring a more affordable way to lift its haggard tax base and reduce the excess of empty structures: sell them for $1.
The program, announced in June, will offer Gary residents a chance to pay less for a house than for their morning coffee, as long as they meet a minimum income threshold (starting at $35,250 for one person) and demonstrate the financial ability to bring the neglected property up to code within six months. Those selected would have to live in the home for five years before receiving full ownership.
Nearly 400 people picked up applications on the first day they were available. After an extensive preselection process, the city will choose 12 out of 25 finalists in a lottery next month.
Just 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, Gary was once a vibrant steel town with close to 180,000 residents in the 1960s. It is now home to less than 80,000 people and battered by decades of industry layoffs and racial friction that caused waves of suburban flight, shrinking city coffers drastically.
Gary, which is 85 percent black, has since wrestled with high rates of unemployment, crime and fleeing businesses, as well as fewer resources to invest into 50 square miles of infrastructure that continues to decay. The city department that handles road repair, snow removal and other public maintenance has reduced its staff to 17 employees from 100 employees in 2006.Rallies held in the city routinely are called to address escalating levels of violence. And as a hilarious article makes clear, plans to bring economic life to the area around the U.S. Steelyard stadium in Gary have failed miserable - outside of projects funded 100 percent by the federal government - to such a stunning degree that a Bennigan's restaurant closed because of shootings outside the venue, spontaneous blackness inside, and a lack of desire to pay rent [After decade, Gary stadium's shine fails to light up neighborhood, NWITimes.com, 8-10-13]:
Walking down Fifth Avenue, where the U.S. Steel Yard is located, it's not hard to see how much remains to be done. The Steel City Buffet owned by the Gary Empowerment Zone across from the stadium is again in search of an operator. The barbecue joint in the same building is empty. A Bennigan's restaurant was kicked out of the Steel Yard itself after shootings outside, rowdy nights inside and failure to pay rent.
Demolition of downtown's most prominent eyesore, the Sheraton Hotel just north of Fifth Avenue, where the last guest checked out almost 30 years ago, has again been delayed.
And it's hard not to notice the largest projects counted by the mayor as successes have all been heavily, and in some cases completely, subsidized by government.
Stand-alone private investment is almost nil."Stand-alone private investment is almost nil" has been the economic name-of-the-game since the city's first black mayor, Richard Hatcher, was elected back in 1967.
Though it's not the type of chronology Afrocentrists will admit transpired, the greatness of nubian civilization runs into a brick wall once Hatcher is elected the first black mayor of Gary and whites depart from the city limits in droves:
Hatcher launched his third term with a new strategy, which he called "Genesis of a New Gary." Using references to death and rebirth, he sought to transform the city into a sort of mecca for African Americans. Redevelopment called for a civic center, a medical facility, development of the Gary airport, a marina on Lake Michigan, a downtown minimall, and reopening the old Holiday Inn. (p. 65, African American Mayors: Race, Politics, and the American City, Edited by David Colburn and Jeffrey Adler)
Despite Hatcher's hope that Gary could be the economic center of black America, the city's economic woes continued. Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan's promise of a fish-processing plant went unfulfilled, and a state commission blocked plans for a black-controlled bank. By 1983 the city tax base had so eroded that drastic cuts in the services and personnel were unavoidable. The budget crisis was so severe that Gary could not pay its utility bills. In the spring of 1984 the Genesis Center and the Sheraton Hotel (where some welfare recipients had been moved) in preparation for about 35 thousand delegates to the National Baptist Convention were coming to town. But wider use of the Genesis Center during Hatcher's fifth term had no noticeable effect on economic revitalization. In fact, the Sheraton closed, which left the city with only a single motel: the Interlude, which showed XXX-rated videos and rented rooms by the hour. (p. 67, ibid)
In addition to being dubbed "America's Murder Capital" because of its record homicide rate, Gary in the mid-1980s was shaken by several events that seemed to symbolize a breakdown in community cohension. One was the fatal stabbing of an elderly women (sic) by a group of teenaged girls, including fifteen-year-old Paula Cooper, whose death sentence received worldwide publicity. In another case several children died while trapped in a slimy, untended, supposedly empty public swimming pool. Whereas legions of youngsters once held federally subsidized summer jobs, now the city could not even maintain its recreational facilities. (p.71, ibid)If Ancient Egypt's glories are an affirmation of ebony ingenuity, what can we say of 2013 Gary, Indiana, an 85 percent black city?
They couldn't even keep a Bennigan's opened.
In 2013, Gary does represent something of extreme national (international) significance for what was to be the mecca for African Americans.
It is a city where the Visible Black Hand of Economics is preserved for study and intense analysis.