The Politics of Poverty Exposed in There are No Children Here

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The Politics of Poverty Exposed in There are No Children Here At a young age Lajoe, her parents and other siblings were the first family to move into the newly built Henry Horner Homes, a public housing high-rise project, on Chicago’s south side. Lajoe recalls how clean and spacious their apartment was then. As the years passed the city became less and less able to allocate funds to keep up with the repairs the buildings needed and the city seemed not to care. The projects became ran down, dank and to condense to support a large family. Lajoe became pregnant at the young age of fourteen and was unable finish her high school education. Eventually, she married Paul Rivers, the father of her child and had they had six more children. Lajoe’s husband Paul was estranged from them more often than not and rarely offered any support for their children. This story is centered on the lives of the two middle children, Lafayette and Pharaoh, in the family. The older of the two boys, Lafayette, takes on the role of co-parent and support system for his mother by worrying about his younger siblings’ well being, who their friends are and to if they ducking bullets properly in the hallway. He has four younger siblings a brother a few years young than he is and a set of triples. He especially kept a watchful eye on his brother Pharaoh who was weaker and easily intimidated. At one point in the story Lajoe realized that because of her husband absence and lack close adult relationships she had placed an enormous amount of responsibility on Lafayette’s shoulders. Lajoe said, “The things I should be telling Paul about I was talking to Lafie, I put him in a bad place. But I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Lafie, became a twelve year old man that day.”(101) Lafayette had lost his childhood somewhere in the projects. He lived in constant fear for his life and the lives of those he cared about. He tried to stay out of trouble and to avoid dealing with the gangs. But when you come from the projects it was hard to stay out of trouble. There were many occasions when the police wrongly accused Lafayette and his older brother, Terrence. As Lafayette got older found it harder to avoid the older boys and not get caught up in the fast crowd.

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