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Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,249 posts, read 11,817,416 times
I don't know anything about Bham myself but one time I was going to the airport- unfortunately Southwest does not serve Atlanta- and I got off on the wrong exit and ended up on this street called Tallapoosa. I will never forget it. Looked like a total dump. Worse than even Detroit. There was a dead dog laying in the street and trash all over. And some kind of smelly factory there.
ended up on this street called Tallapoosa. I will never forget it. Looked like a total dump. Worse than even Detroit. There was a dead dog laying in the street and trash all over. And some kind of smelly factory there.
That would be Tarrant. As bad as that place looks, there are still worse places than it in Bham.
Location: Wherever the are junk homes: Lawrence County Alabama, Huntsville Alabama and Birmingham Alabama
56 posts, read 148,293 times
I have been a proud American citizen of African descent for the last 25 years. I have traveled widely and lived in several different places and cultures around the World. This poster displayed an American image around the World, being arrogant, racist and intolerant of others. Of late, such an image of America is beginning to fade, thanks to the global mass information and political adjustments, in my view. The poster uses a lot of code words that only appeal to individuals with similar mindsets. Phrases like: “pits of urban hell”, “urban blight”, “crime-infested ghettoes”, etc. “Great places to dump bodies” would actually describe criminal individuals of Caucasian origin other than African origin, according to numerous news articles I have seen over my 25 years.
“Can’t help but wonder what’s lurking behind decrepit walls of abandoned structures and waiting to pounce from out of the overgrowth. It was soooo eerily quiet but not in a peaceful way. It was like any moment I was going to turn a corner into an ambush”, sounds like schizophrenia, my psychiatric daughter will agree with me. She works with many like this poster, I would definitely seek help, but not if I was raised a racist valuing only the color of my skin to be superior to others, not educated mind and intelligence of a normal humanity.
“Every black youth I saw---and that’s mostly the type of person I saw, sitting on porches and slinking down the streets – looked like a thug and was eyeing me. Whenever I passed down a street more than once, one of them would start moving in the direction of my car and making hand signals as if he thought I was looking for drugs” – contradictions, you said driving through once was enough and yet you said when you drove passed several times people suspected you of looking for drugs. They were right to be suspicious, you sound like you were either lost of looking for some prostitute or child to kidnap and dump in the “overgrowth”.
You said you live in CA, I am almost sure you lived in Trona CA where most of the residents came from backwoods of Oklahoma. Your description of Norwood also sounds to me like you are describing Trona. Inbreeding in your small group can really create a disaster for all humanity. I was the first black man to visit Trona; the residents were all Caucasians, presumably like you, presumably coming from a small community in Oklahoma. I was driving through to Death Valley and saw abandoned houses and thought of great opportunity, not despise of the residents. I bought 35 of those homes for an average of 8000 dollars and sold ten of them to another investor who saw value and not negativity for 300,000 dollars. No I am not an investor who buys but not live in the neighborhood; I lived there for three years until I sold off. I leased-to-own the rest of the homes below market value to the residents who were absolutely grateful to have the opportunity to own where they lived, not like this poster who may, most likely, be renting from some other better-minded individual, not owning. We had mutual respect and a lot of minds were changed, which I hope this poster will also benefit from, more exposure to dark-color neighborhoods will definitely help him in his paranoia. Accurate opinion cannot be formed simply by driving through a neighborhood, but by having some actual contact with the residents for some time, which this poster is probably too good to do.
“It’s a fool’s bargain. When one of those black youths I saw in the streets needs some money to pay his dealer, guess whose door it is that they’re gonna come to come-knockin?” – keep your paranoia and suffer from it and be left behind where you are right now. Many like you are awakening, it’s 2010, you must remember. Many black faces are seem to live well and you think they will come to your door knocking just because your skin makes you superior? Inferiority sometimes makes some people live outside of themselves. My advice for this poster is to love himself for who he is and he will respect himself and others and feel much better.
My wife, who is Caucasian, and I black man own a place in the woods in Northern Alabama. We also live half of the time in the “pits of urban hell”, “urban blight” in Birmingham. We are very happy and nobody has knocked on my wife’s door, so being Caucasian alone is not a symbol of wealth and good-living that attracts those “black youths”.
I think the guy's description of Norwood was a bit over the top. I lived in Crestline for a couple of years and had to drive through Norwood on my work commute. Its seedy yes, and there is at least one street I know of that would be a bad place to go and try to turn around in, but for the most part if you are just passing through, stopping to get gas and on about your business you will be fine. I never had any issues and I never saw anyone having issues. I think if you hang around looking for trouble in that area, you will find it - yes.
Tarrant has its seedy side as well, but same thing, just move along - and stay out of Inglenook which is technically Birmingham and not Tarrant, but still - right there around the airport you have East Lake and Kingston. Kingston especially, a place to avoid.
Its really the dense housing projects that are the worst, and not necessarily they cities that surroung them: Gate City, Kingston, Inglenook, Southtown. You won't have any reason to go there unless you live there. But as far as whole areas to avoid, I would say just crossing off North and West Birmingham off your places of things to see and do in Birmingham and you should be fine.
That's primarily because the people who live in those neighborhoods aren't in the habit of posting advice for people who might want to move here, and the people who are interested in whether you like Birmingham don't exactly have an incentive to air our dirty laundry. Birmingham's widely publicized murder rate is mostly the result of so-called "black on black" crime in poor areas. That crime doesn't affect people in the better neighborhoods anywhere near the same rate.
But since you asked...
Ensley is pretty rough. If I remember correctly, a lot of the people who lived in the housing projects downtown were relocated to Ensley. But it was already a rough place before that. Ensley was once a working class town for people who worked at the steel mills. When they closed, people who had any money left.
West End is also bad. There's a big housing project at Elyton that has a lot of criminal activity. Fairfield gets quite a bit of activity as well. There are some quiet streets out there, but as a whole the stretch from I-65 to the East part of Bessemer would not be recommended.
North Birmingham is another area you would want to avoid. The area between downtown and Fultondale has some pretty rough neighborhoods. After you get to Fultondale, it's not as bad.
There are some pretty rough areas around the airport. Woodlawn has been bad for many years. East Lake has turned bad in the last couple of decades.
Those are the larger problem areas, but there are pockets of issues in other communities as well. Avondale has some not so good streets. There's a rough housing project over behind Century Plaza mall on the east side. There are some iffy areas out in Roebuck, Center Point and Pinson. But there are good neighborhoods in all these areas as well.
One of the dirty secrets here is the immigrant population in Hoover and Pelham. Both get mentioned as great places to live, but they have a growing crime issue in the Hispanic communities. People don't like to talk about it for fear of appearing insensitive or racist.
You have entire apartment complexes in Hoover that are nothing but Hispanics. That in itself isn't the problem. The problem is that because of the language barrier and an ingrained mistrust of police, Hispanic crime victims often won't report the crime. As a result, bad guys in the area know they can often do whatever they want without getting caught. The big Hispanic gangs like MS-13 prey on that and have a presence here, although I don't know if Hoover will admit it. Hoover police have been trying desperately to recruit bilingual officers to combat the problem, but the problem still exists.
Most of us don't talk about all this, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also because it makes us uncomfortable. A white guy from Mountain Brook or Homewood rarely spends any time at all in any of the areas mentioned. Therefore he will often not feel qualified to comment on problems in a neighborhood with which he isn't really familiar. People in the Birmingham area are quite sensitive to being labeled racist and will go out of their way to avoid speaking about poor black areas for fear of being misunderstood.
Me? I don't really care. I worked in news in Birmingham and have been in these areas, covering murders and problems in housing projects. I don't see how it helps to dance around the subject.
I was at a family reunion the week before last and my cousin showed me an apartment complex in Hoover that was filled with nothing but illegals. Well, she says they're all illegal, I don't know, maybe she just assumes because they're Hispanic they're all illegal. Anyway, I even saw a few of them on top of the roof! I don't know what they were doing up there, working maybe?
As for crime, I know there was a carjacking in Homewood not too long ago, no? It was not too far from where my other cousin lives and her neighborhood is exceptionally nice.
To me, understanding the issues Birmingham faces is very easy. You must understand the division between the poor and the wealthy. While this difference is not directly tied to skin color, there is obviously a link.
I first moved here from NW Alabama back in 1998. It wasn't different then than it is now. I left in mid 1999 to take a job in Charlotte, NC, a very similar city, and it gave me a good perspective on what was the same and what was different. The two cities share much demographically, but there was one huge difference I could see: the level of incoming "middle class" or "new money".
I refer to "new money" as people who are well-paid and working, in all different industries, in professional positions. These people are new to the area, and don't come from great inheritance. They may be from all races and nationalities. Birmingham lacks this. Especially since the closure of companies like HealthSouth, Southtrust Bank, and the shrinking for other large organizations. Indeed, it seems to me that the only growth industry that Birmingham has any more is medicine. And while that is a great field to generate wealth in, once again, the discrepancy in pay is broad.
Charlotte had lots of the new money. As well as old money folks. But the old money people don't generate the economy scale that new money people do. I'm not harping on people who have family money, don't confuse these comments as such. But Birmingham, like all of America, must have a strong and confident middle class, and I think Birmingham's has shrunk.
Meanwhile, the number of people barely getting by, and the number of people living on easy street, seems to have grown quickly. Face it: when layoffs happen, they don't lay off the owners of the business. And they don't lay off the unqualified and unfit who don't work for them in the first place. Those laid off are the ones with good incomes, who are deemed to be underperforming or of lesser value, or obsolete. And those people either become the lesser well-off, or suffer for a time. We have too much of that in Birmingham. I'm sure Charlotte does now too, after this recession.
My family will be moving to Birmingham or near Birmingham area within the next couple of months, this has given me much information. I think the crime for an area does say something about the area, however you must also take into account what kind of crimes are being committed. I am anti racist, color blind really, to the point I cringe anytime a form even ask for my skin color. IT doesnt ask for my eye color or hair color...so why does my skin color really matter? I cannot wait to reach Alabama, and hope to intergrate quickly into the local community. I am considering a house in Bessemer, any information about this area pro or negative would be very helpful. BTW I have a 2 year old, 3 year old and 11 year old girl.....
If you are talking about the City of Bessemer, it has its own school system, and is not recommended. There is a gorgeous, brand new High School in Bessemener, and I would like to think that it will give folks a new outlook, but . . .If you are talking about the general "area" of Bessemer, but in unincorporated Jefferson County, the schools are much better (McAdory High and the schools that feed into it).
I lived in Bessemer for two years. We bought an historic home in the South Highlands area and I dearly loved that house. There are some great people in Bessemer working hard to "bring it back" but it is an uphill battle, to say the least. There was so much rental in my neighborhood that it really wasn't possible for it to "come back" in any meaningful way. Now, you should check out the Lakeview Estates neighborhood, which is where the rich folk lived back in the day and is still gorgeous and full of good neighbors. But you still face the prospect of the city schools . . . unless you want to put your kids in private school.
I know it seems odd when folks ask about your color. But it comes down to this: there are areas of town where a black family may feel welcome and have no problems at all, but a white family would not have the same experience. There are also areas that skew the other direction -- mainly smaller rural communities outside of town.
In any event, welcome to Birmingham! Feel free to ask any questions as your home search continues.
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