Memories of R. Taylor

by Reginald Kizer 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

The Robert Taylor Homes, a South Side public housing complex where 27,000 people once lived on 92 acres, was a place where many people had life experiences. Its 4,300 units were home to residents who all were hurt when it was destroyed.

Now, the Robert Taylor Homes are nothing more than a book of memories—just a pile of dirt, bricks and cement. Since the Robert Taylor Homes are gone, the once-drawn-together residents have scattered all over Chicago. Some even went to live in the suburbs.

My experience of having to move to a whole new area was like moving to a whole different state or city. To me, the Robert Taylor Homes were very life preparing. Living there taught me how to speak up for myself, learn the value of family, and to enjoy life. I learned to care for people who surrounded me because we were all like family.

It also better prepared me for making it in this world without relying on my parents and family to help me so much. I learned how to be independent by playing basketball with other people who were my age and older. Another way I learned how to be independent was by walking to and from school by myself, which I had to go around other Robert Taylor buildings.

So for me, living in the Robert Taylor Homes, 5135 S. Federal, to be exact, was the best experience that has happened to me so far in my life and it was probably even better for others.

Many people who lived in the Robert Taylor Homes would say their experiences of living in what was known as “the projects” was better than the creators intended.

Some people may think “the projects” are just buildings for low budget, almost-making-a-living people, but I think of it otherwise.

I interviewed my cousin on his experiences of living in the Robert Taylor Homes and he said, “Living in the Robert Taylor Homes, my one and true home, was what prepared me for facing the world. It taught me how to provide for myself and not to depend on a lot of people. It taught me who I could really trust and not let everyone get close to me. I learned other fundamentals like how to play ball, rap and to dream of a better life.”

So you see, “the projects” were not just a low-budget place. They taught other people life-long lessons.

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Categories: UYIJP

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