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York’s First Black Mortician Mr. William Russsell Chapman

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Early photo of York’s first Black Mortician & Funeral Director Mr. William Russell Chapman opened his Mortuary in 1941…….he eventually retired in 1970 and sold his business to Mr. Henry Boulding father of current Mortuary owner Henry Boulding Jr. Here is an early photo of a younger Mr. Chapman and his first Classic Hearse as well as a copy of his Thesis he wrote as part of his graduation requirements from Howard University……He went on to graduated from Cornell University with a Masters degree in Chemistry. Before becoming a Mortician he served as head of the Chemistry Department at Virginia Theological seminary, also teaching at North Carolina College for Negroes and at York College…….Mr. Chapman was also the first Black appointed to the York City School Board where he later won an elected seat .He was the deciding vote on instituting York’s busing plan as part of their desegregation efforts…..Image may contain: text

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Rev. Thomas E. Montouth A York Legend

Rev. Thomas E. Montouth A York Legend

Another senseless killing on the streets of the REAL York City (Not the “Green Zone”) and it seems as if no one understands what is going on or how to address it. Well this dire situation has been in the making for several decades as hundreds of millions of dollars were being spent on brick and mortar projects to shore up the downtown “Green Zone”, while the neighborhoods and their human inhabitants are left to survive on whatever “trickles down” from those projects. Now don’t shoot the messenger here because social scientist David Rusk sounded the alarm over 20 years ago as to what would happen if we did not take deliberative actions to rectify the inequities which were part of the system being designed and maintained here. Well take your heads out of the sand because wake-up time is here. More on the deteriorating social situation later, but as of now I would like to share with you some Historical insight from one of York’s early Black leaders.

I have not been doing a lot of writing on the situation we find ourselves in here in York for a variety of reasons. But as I sit here watching our city spiraling out of control, I would be remiss if I did not add another perspective or further insight into rectifying our malaise. Even at a time when it seems like the “Big Trees” of this community want to continue shutting out the sun from many of our small voices, there is a legitimate rationale for speaking out and up. This will be the first of several critiques I will put forth in the coming weeks. With the upcoming 50 year observance of the 1968 and 69 civil disorders that rack this community right around the corner, understanding the change or lack of change that have happened here makes it even more important that the “Tale of Two Cities” is a story that Must be told in its entirety.

As I was doing research on some of York’s past Black Leadership I came across another powerful and timely letter from a man I am quickly becoming aware of as one of Our most Brilliant and Courageous Black Leaders. During a time when York’s Black community was in need of leadership and direction this Man stood up with courage and integrity as a fearless advocate for the Uplift of the Black community. Rev. Thomas Montouth was a scholar and used his intellect to exhort our community to strive for excellence in all that we endeavored.
We could learn a lot from these early years of York’s history. If ever the Black community was undergoing a renaissance it was during those years, the late 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, when many of our social and civic organization were being developing and had a focus on community uplift. Work ethic and education were values that were stress in our community

Rev. Montouth along with Dr. George Bowles, a local Black Physician, and others, became one of the founders of the Community House, a precursor to the Crispus Attucks Association, he was a founding member of the Crispus Attucks Association, the Lincoln University Alumni Club and the Powerful Citizens Political Club. He was a prolific writer and a fearless advocate for justice and would publish letters in the local newspapers on many topics related to the uplift of the Black man in York, Pa. In 1932 his letter entitled “The Dawn of a New Day” called for the Negro elite of the community to come together to identify and resolve the major problems facing the Negro here.
In this 1936 letter 30 years before Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Montouth set out directions for the Black community on how to take advantage of the political system in our community. In his letter called, “Warning to the Negro Voter”, Rev. Montouth encouraged us to, “not be carried away by artificial, pumped up enthusiasm, but to demand from candidates for office unequivocal pledges on matters of importance to the Black community”. In the letter Montouth went on to say “Specious appeals to catch phrases and emotional issues should be ignored. If the Negro is to get any benefit from the opportunity which elections afford, we must be realist and not let ourselves be led astray by meaningless party labels or flamboyant oratory”. (After all, in matters related to Blacks in America, the two political parties have acted as two different wings of the same Bird).Image may contain: text

Finally Montouth goes on to say, “Let the candidates know that while we Expect Black to be given jobs just like the representatives of other groups, the masses Will Not be satisfied with a few Token berths for politically connected wheel horses. We instead should be more interested in other important issues facing us such as equal opportunity to jobs at equal pay, the abolishment of discrimination, quality education and the establishment of a more just social and economic order for ALL Yorkers.

Rev. Montouth was a small diminutive Man, but a Giant in the History of York’s Black community. One of the benefits of knowing our History is understanding the tactics and strategies that work and not falling victim to the merry-go-round of useless pandering to manipulative and unscrupulous politicians.
As we approach the Dawn of a new political season it would do us well to remember the exhortations of those who came before us…..Life lessons are Lessons for Life…..if we LEARN them.

Rev. Thomas Montouth born in Georgetown Guyana, came to York in 1905 by way of New York through Lincoln University. Rev. Montouth operated a newstand at 298 West Princess Street where he distributed Black newspapers and other literature such as the Baltimore Afro American and the Pittsburg Courier. He was an outspoken advocate for Negro Rights in this community for decades in the 1920’s, 30’s and into the 1950’s. He became the Minister at Faith Presbyterian church in 1928. Rev. Montouth was one of the founders of the Community House a precursor to the Crispus Attucks Association, he was a founding member of the Crispus Attucks Association, the Lincoln University Alumni Club and the Powerful Citizens Club. He was a prolific writer and a fearless advocate for justice and would publish letters in the local newspapers on many topics related to the uplift of the Black man in York, Pa. He was ….….in 1932 his letter entitled “The Dawn of a New Day” called for the Negro elite of the community to come together to identify and resolve the major problems facing the Negro here. Other articles he wrote included one on Brotherliness, Racial separation and the Negro Church. As head of the local NAACP he would lead investigations into many acts of racial injustice or discrimination without Fear. He was a strong advocate for those wrongly charged by the criminal justice system

In 1947 he was involved in a well-publicized discrimination suit against Howard Miller, the owners of the Dinner Bell Restaurant at 155 South Queen Street. The suit grew out of waiter Millard Dinges’ refusal to serve Rev. Montouth at the diner. Although the refusal to serve was witnessed by two York City policemen, Corporal Ira Bohn and Edward Pinkerton, the suit was denied by a local grand jury in what was termed “a capricious and arbitrary act totally disregarding the facts and the law”.

Although he was not an attorney, as head of the NAACP Rev. Montouth would appear in court to defend any who he felt were wrongly accused. One such incident in 1950 involved the case of an 18 year old Negro male arrested for smiling and winking at a white woman. The youth was sentenced to pay a $25.00 fine and spend 30 days in Jail. Afer visiting and petitioning the Mayor at the time Mayor Bentzel the unjust sentence was overturned.

Another notorious case was the 1941 case of Mr. Alfoster White, 31 years old at the time. Mr. White was charged arbitrarily with disorderly conduct after a car he was riding in operated by Mr. Charles Washington was struck by the car of a white man, Grayson Deardorff. The officer alleged that Mr. White was arguing with Mr. Deardorff and refused to move along. Rev.  Montouth happened to be a witness to the incident and upon his testimony the case was dismissed.

In 1931 Rev. Montouth joined with Dr. George Bowles and several other community leaders to organize the Crispus Attucks Association. They envisioned an organization which could take the lead in building and uplifting the growing Black community. Crispus Attucks became the Heartbeat of the Black community during this era.  The Negro community as well as the community in general came to the support of the program. In the 1943 membership drive 957 new members signed up in support of the center. Of the 1400 employable colored citizens in the city of York at that time, 877 purchased memberships. If ever there was a renaissance for York’s Black community it came during the 1940’s, 50’s and early 60’s when Crispus Attucks provided leadership, direction and purpose for individual and group development. The leadership were proponents of W.E.B. Dubois philosophy of the “talented tenth” which described his belief that one in 10 black men who have become leaders of their race through methods such as continuing their education, writing books, or becoming directly involved in social change, had a responsibility to give back in an effort to uplift the Race. These leaders were outspoken and direct in their belief that we should assume responsibility for the development of our community both collectively and individually.

In 1972 Rev. Montouth was awarded the “Service to Mankind” award by the Sertoma Club of York. This award was presented to a citizen who has given freely and unselfishly his or her time and service to their fellow man.

Rev. Thomas E. Montouth, Sr. was born in Georgetown Guyana. He came to York in 1905 after living in New York and then graduating from Lincoln University. Rev. Montouth operated a newstand at 298 West Princess Street where he distributed Black newspapers such as the Baltimore Afro American and the Pittsburg Courier as well as other culturally relevant literature. He was an outspoken advocate for Negro Rights in this community for decades in the 1920’s, 30’s and into the 1950’s. He became the Minister at Faith Presbyterian church in 1928. While at Faith Presbyterian, Rev. Montouth along with Dr. George Bowles, a local Black Physician, became one of the founders of the Community House a precursor to the Crispus Attucks Association, he was a founding member of the Crispus Attucks Association, the Lincoln University Alumni Club and the Powerful Citizens Club. He was a prolific writer and a fearless advocate for justice and would publish letters in the local newspapers on many topics related to the uplift of the Black man in York, Pa. In 1932 his letter entitled “The Dawn of a New Day” called for the Negro elite of the community to come together to identify and resolve the major problems facing the Negro here. Other articles he wrote included one on Brotherliness, Racial Separation and the Negro Church. As head of the local NAACP he would lead investigations into many acts of racial injustice or discrimination without Fear. He was a strong advocate for those wrongly charged by the criminal justice system
In 1947 he was involved in a well-publicized discrimination suit against Howard Miller, the owner of the Dinner Bell Restaurant at 155 South Queen Street. The suit grew out of waiter Millard Dinges’ refusal to serve Rev. Montouth at the diner. Although the refusal to serve was witnessed by two York City policemen, Corporal Ira Bohn and Edward Pinkerton, the suit was denied by a local grand jury in what was termed “a capricious and arbitrary act totally disregarding the facts and the law”.
Although he was not an attorney, as head of the NAACP Rev. Montouth would appear in court to defend any who he felt were wrongly accused. One such incident in 1950 involved the case of an 18 year old Negro male arrested for smiling and winking at a white woman. (It was called “reckless eyeballing”). The youth was sentenced to pay a $25.00 fine and spend 30 days in Jail. After visiting and petitioning the Mayor at the time Mayor Bentzel the unjust sentence was overturned.
Another notorious case was the 1941 case of Mr. Alfoster White, 31 years old at the time. Mr. White was charged arbitrarily with disorderly conduct after a car he was riding in operated by Mr. Charles Washington was struck by the car of a white man, Grayson Deardorff. The officer alleged that Mr. White was arguing with Mr. Deardorff and refused to move along. Rev. Montouth happened to be a witness to the incident and upon his testimony the case was dismissed.

Rev. Montouth was married to Mary and had two children Thomas E Montouth, Jr. and Alma who was a very successful school teacher. In 1972 Rev. Montouth was awarded the “Service to Mankind” award by the Sertoma Club of York. This award was presented to a citizen who has given freely and unselfishly his or her time and service to their fellow man.
Rev. Montouth’s home and business were destroyed in the floods spawned by hurricane Agnes in 1972. He then moved in with his daughter Ms. Alma Montouth, a retired school teacher who lived on the corner of Pershing Avenue and Maple Street. Rev. Montouth died in 1977 and is interred at Lebanon Cemetery. Rev. Montouth was truly a York, Pa. African American Hero………

 

 

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The Walter Kirkland Family

  

 

 

 

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Coming Soon….The True, Full Story of the 1968 – 69 Riots.

Coming Soon….The True, Full Story of the 1968 – 69 Riots…..Stay tuned…..

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Historic African American Social Organizations Elks & the Legion

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Another long one but another piece of our Glorious History. This part is about the Brotherly Love Lodge #228 and its move to West Maple Street from West Princess Street……..

After being located for 42 years at 109 West Princess Street, the Brothers of the Brotherly Love Lodge #228 Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World came together to purchase a plot of land at 335 West Maple Street on which to construct a New Lodge. The Brothers were actually forced to move from their West Princess enclave due to the properties on West Princess Street, which was a mostly Black neighborhood, being designated as an Urban Renewal area. This was a common practice in those days to undermine and destabilize Black Neighborhoods. As in other so-called Urban Renewal areas the space eventually became a parking lot.

The Brothers retained attorney John R. Gailey to guide them through what would become a difficult and contentious process. The deed to the property, which was formerly owned by Mr. & Mrs. George A. Jacobs, had a racial restriction which stated that the property could not be sold to anyone who had even a drop of Negro blood in them. This was a common practice in many areas of the North at the time and contributed to the concentration of Negroes in specific areas of the community. To get around this Attorney Gailey had his secretary, a white woman, buy the property and then had the Elk Brothers purchase it from her. It worked like a charm. But the battle had only just begun.

The neighbors were very wary of a Black Club moving into what at that time was a mostly white neighborhood, so they protested in any manner they could. Despite neighbor attempts to block it the Brothers obtained a building permit for $35,000.00 and retained Architect Robert G. McAlarney to design a one story brick structure for the location. The neighbors did not give up there. They rally their supporters to oppose the transfer of the Lodges liquor license from their Princess Street location to the New West Maple Street location. More than three busloads of York homeowners and neighbors jammed a Liquor Control Board hearing room on Friday December 2, 1960 in an effort to block the transfer of a retail liquor license to the new Elks building under construction. Over 110 protestors and ninety-one signatories went on record opposing the club request.

Attorney Gailey first called The Lodges Grand Exalted Ruler, Raymond A. Rhoades, to the stand. Rhoades testified that more than 60 spaces for parking would be provided for their patrons. Rhoades rebutted testimony by protestor Joseph Borsellino, that the Elks had a “bad” reputation from West Princess Street. Asked by Gailey whether the fact that the club was a Negro club have any bearing on his objections, Borsellino said no. Rhoades said the Elks club had never called the police for a disturbance. “We operated our club the way it ought to be operated”, said Rhoades. Gailey bought out in Rhoades testimony that the area where the club was located was “the social and recreational center of the Negro community”.
Joe Bendel, executive director of the York Redevelopment Authority, testified that the Elks members were good citizens and that the old club had to be demolished for redevelopment. He stated that the new site would be adequate for the club’s purpose. Other protesters complained of lack of parking and other nuisance objections but eventually on February 18, 1961 the application was granted. The approval raised a storm of protest from the neighbors. But Liquor Control Board Secretary Frank J. Shea who presented the decision said, “Conjecture, fear and supposition cannot be permitted to sway board thinking where sound discretion must be exercised”. He added that the Elks had held a license for more than ten years and had never been cited for a violation. “It would be manifestly unjust to presuppose that a change in location would bring about a corresponding change in conduct. Fairness can dictate that only past good conduct will continue”.

There is so much more to the Elks story. The rise and fall of this Historic organization is a bittersweet part of our Glorious History and this, like other Historical events from our past is a story I will expand upon as I complete my book. Stay tuned.

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Vintage photo of the Charles E Williams Legion Post #794 officers including my Grandfather. Back row from the right; my Grandfather Walter Kirkland, my Uncle Calvin Kirkland, Rev. John Brown, John Murdaugh and 6th from right Raymond Rhoades . Front row second from left Gordon Williams, brother of Charles E Williams who the post was named after and third from left Jerome Dowling. Don’t know the names of the others.maybe some one else does. Photo donated by Vert & Mary Wright. Got some new names standing second from left is Ting Grimes, brother of Voni Grimes and fourth from left is Bob Chapman. Sitting on the left is Walter Woodyard. Thanks Gayle Hunter & Janice Smith for your input.

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Love the classics. Here we have another 1940 something photo donated by Vert & Mary Wright, restored by JKirkStudios. This one shows sitting left to right; Rev. John Brown, my StepFather George Jernigan, Leon Jenkins, Billy Chapman, and Jesse Preston. Standing left to right; Gordy Williams, Unknown, Wick Nelson, Bob Chapman, Jerome Dowling and Walter Woodyard.

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Last of the Elks Photos donated by Vert & Mary Wright…….restored by JKirk…….front row sitting left to right; unknown, George Jernigan, Gordy Williams, Bill Chapman. and Jake Rhoades. Standing left to right; unknown, Walter Woodyard, Leon Jenkins, Bob Chapman, Ting Grimes, and John Murdaugh………Good Men…….

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In a ceremony at the Elks Lodge 335 West Maple Street, Newly elected Ruler of the Queen Esther Temple #105, Mrs. Delores Rhoades, fourth from left, accepts the gavel from out-going head Julia Leffler while other old and new officers of Queen Esther Temple and the Brotherly Love Lodge #228 look on. the others are; l – r; Charles Hunter, Jesse Orr, Henry “Hab” Kirkland, Raymond Rhoades, Betty Hopkins, Adele Williams and Emory Dorm

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1957 installation of new officers of the women’s auxiliary of the Charles E. Williams Post #794 American Legion are l – r; Mrs. Barbara Kent first vice-president, Mrs. Victoria Smith secretary, Mrs. Helen Peaco treasurer, my mother, Miss Gladys Kirkland president, Mrs. Sadell Nimmons outgoing president, Mrs. Luther Leibowitz, state legislative chairwoman of the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary, Mrs. Jesse Chatman second vice-president, and Gladys Mitchell chaplain….

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Brotherly Love Lodge #228 and Queen Esther Temple #105 fashion show committee; sitting Mrs. Betty Hopkins and Mrs. Lois Nelson. standing; Mrs. Lyda Montouth, Carol “Dolly” Day, Julia Bridgette, Voni Grimes, Ruby Coleman and Juanita Evans

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Grandview Incident shows Segregation Continues to be Active in York

What Do these 4 Clubs Have in Common?  

 

The recent Grandview Golf Course incident, where a group of Black Women golfers were harassed by the owners, who then called the police to have them ejected, brings to light the deep vestiges of segregation and racism which have plagued this city since the days of William Goodridge. The images of segregated restaurants, swimming pools, social clubs and schools flood to the surface whenever another of these racist incidents occur.

The recent Grandview incident elicited a storm of protest, condemnation and outcries both locally and across this country. There are calls for investigation and unprecedented public statements by the local ‘Movers & Shakers’, many of who signed letters to stifle such outcries decades ago.

As a lifelong Yorker (69 years here) I have seen this cycle of feigned outrage and concern happen over and over again. Whenever emotions and feelings run high around any of these event, commitment to change is often expressed by those who hold the reigns of power. But as soon as the emotional level subsides that expressed commitment to change disappears. Why is that I ask myself.

As I compile information for my book on a personal perspective of York’s Black History, I come across historical accounts of organizations where the vestiges of power and control congregated to reinforce the restrictive social structure which exists here. Clubs like the Manor club, the infamous Lafayette Club and the Country Club of York to name just a few. Those old bastions of segregation have either gone out of business or have modified their rules to some extent. But lo and behold there still exists a system of exclusion amongst many social clubs here in York which reinforces and sustains the power construct.

Clubs like the ones shown here and several others have existed in this community somewhat under the radar for many decades, some even before I was born. The South End Democratic Club on West College Avenue was established in 1935; the 9th Ward Political Club on South Penn Street; the 13th Ward Political Club out behind Met Ed, and the Rooster Club on Parkway Boulevard, all represent old values of separation and exclusion. And they exist right smack dab in the middle of a community of citizens who they exclude. Local resident are barred from even parking on their lots when the clubs are not open.

On a personal note, back when I worked at Consolidated Freight Company, a local trucking firm, many of my co-workers patronized the Rooster club and the 13th Ward club. One of the guys who I had developed a rapport with use to bring food in from the club. He often talked about how reasonably priced it was. I asked him one day, why don’t you take me to the club to get a little something to eat. He responded somewhat facetiously, “Kirk, man are you trying to get me kicked out of the club. They don’t even have dark meat chicken on the menu”. We both laughed, but we both new he was serious. Social constructs are strong in this community.

Now I’m not saying they don’t have the right to be restrictive and exclusive in who they allow in their clubs, but I just wonder what type of public/government resources these establishments have access to. And even more so who or how many of our public officials and public workers patronize these clubs. Do they have tax exempt status, etc.

In a recent analysis of York County Government employees and their compensation, I found that of the top 140 or so highest earning employees, 96 of them are employed by the prison system or the court system. Now I’m wondering how many, if any, of these employees are patrons of segregated establishments. If they are, do they allow the segregated sentiments expressed by the values espoused by these club to distort their attitudes when working with the large number of minorities subjected to the controls of the prison and court systems. I’m just asking. What are your thoughts.

      

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YAAHPS Center for study of African American History

Coming Soon….YAAHPS’s Center for the Study of African American History……..

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Community Icons- Mr. & Mrs. William & Dorothy Sexton

To me the movie The Black Panther was a game changing, seminal event. By this I mean the movie gave Black folk and others a glimpse of what a world could look like when Spiritual righteousness and not Capitalistic consumerism is the driving force in our society. It showed that even though it was based on a Mythical version of History, those of us who are aware of our True history know that African civilization was Far more advanced than any other Greek, Roman or Western civilizations that came afterward. Not boasting or putting others down, just stating Facts. We may not have had flying automobiles and other things but in the area of Science, Technology, Education, Medicine and other areas important to community growth, African culture was far more advanced. And its very simple what happened. We as Blacks have been cut off from our True Spiritual connectedness to each other and to God. I say this to say that the event I went to last night was reminiscence of the Spiritual energy that drove millions of us to go see the Movie in unprecedented numbers.

We as people are here on this earth for a fleeting moment but the spiritual energy we bring to our community is felt forever. Our Energy moves like a shooting Star through our community. And sometimes we don’t even realize the Impact we are making on individuals and our collective group. Oftentimes the True Heroes of our community are not recognized by the powers to be for the impact they have on our community. Mr. William Sexton and his Lovely Wife Dorothy who were honored for their 60th Wedding Anniversary, are two of those people. They have built a Legacy that not only inspires and motivates their own Family to aspire to Greatness, but they also serve as community Icons who spread love and uplift to All.

They are both Spiritual people, longtime Pillars of their church community. Mr. Sexton epitomizes the meaning of Fatherhood on this Fathers Day. He has worked TWO jobs for over twenty years to provide for and nurture his Family. Judging by the comments last evening his wife and Family Matriarch Dorothy spreads the Love, Discipline and High Expectations strong Black Women have been known for. Together they have presented an example and a vision of their own Personal Wakanda for the world to see and for us to Emulate. People say you can tell a lot about a person by the Fruits of their labor and the Strength, Talent and Respectfulness of the Sexton Clan is a true testament to their labors. You can tell a child who was raised up connected to these two fine people.

The Black Panther was about our Spiritual connectedness. To me it was not just a Movie but a State of Mind. I salute these two Wonderful people and as a Historian I know History will speak well of their Legacy. Our community has been truly fortunate to have crossed paths with these two Giants of our History and Culture. Happy Fathers Day Mr. Sexton and May God continue to Bless you and our community…..

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The Rose that Grew From Concrete Series – Maurice Peters aka Abdul Alim Muhammad

   

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The Social Determinants of Health – DNA vs ZNA

For the first time in our history, the United States is raising a generation of children who may live sicker and shorter lives than their parents. Reversing this trend will of course depend on healthy decisions by each of us. But not everyone in America has the same opportunities to make healthy choices.As I was driving through the city today, doing what I do, I happen to turn down East Princess Street. As I drove I noticed a cloud of dust rising as other cars were going past. As I look further I noticed that one side of the street appeared to be a different color than the other side. As I investigated even closer, I realized the dirt and dust that covered the street was a pollutant coming from the Junkyard that is located in the 500 block of East Princess Street. The dust not only covered the street but the sidewalks, the cars and any plants that are able to survive.  Now this junkyard has been located here for as long as I can remember, well over 50 years, but it has always been a sore spot for me. As I became more politically aware I always thought that there has to be some major polluting going on there with the chemicals coming from the collected junk seeping into the ground in that area.Upon reading many articles and scientific journals about health and life expectancy as it relates to where you live, I became even more sensitized to these major violations of our community health. Many of these articles conclude that an essential key to your health may be related to your zip code, actually saying that your zip code or where you live might be as important to your health as your Genetic Code…..A recent population-based analysis of life expectancy across United States, funded by the Robert Johnson Foundation (RWJF), found that geographic disparities in life expectancy in our nation are large and growing, and can be explained in large part by differences in race/ethnicity and socioeconomic factors such as income, education, and employment status.If DNA represents our biological blueprint, ZNA (zip code at birth) is the blueprint for our behavioral & psycho-social makeup and is just as powerful a determinant of our life expectancy as our DNA.Our ZIP codes can determine everything from our access to healthy food, to the safety of our neighborhoods, to the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink—factors which have a huge influence on whether we get sick in the first place.

To further illustrate how where we live can affect our health, RWJF has supported the development of maps which show how babies born just a few miles apart often have dramatic differences in life expectancy.

A little while back I posted some photos of major smoke pollution pouring from the smoke stack at the Crematorium over on Kings Mill Road. Another Health Hazard placed right in the middle of our community without regards to the environmental and human damage it is causing. In addition to that, just in the recent past a huge cell phone tower was placed right in the vicinity of where our children have to travel back and forth to McKinley school, again without regard for the overall safety and Health of our community, or our kids.

Politicians and others in authority will argue that these pollutants are no threat to us, our community or our children, but again I will bet you a dollar to a dime that these entities would not ever be allowed to be placed in a more affluent locale.Now I submit to you that these violations of the sanctity of our community would not and could not happen in any of our more affluent communities. This is exactly the conclusions reached by many of the studies on Zip Codes and Health. Besides the detrimental effects these toxic entities have on our health, they serve a s major drivers in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare for those who are lest able to afford it. Not in my Backyard is a powerful refrain if you have the clout to back it up.

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