We Serve with Pride and Humility. The little girl above reminds me so much of growing up in Orange Mound. How many of you remember the foot races from light pole to light pole? One street would play another street in football or baseball. Orange Mound was where I learned to swim. Play was long and fun! We were friends! On every street, children drank from the water hydrant on the side of some playmate's house. It is truly remarkable how we all knew each other on street after street. How then was community built and what can be done now to build community?

Historically Orange Mound is a community of home owners and was the first African American neighborhood in America to be built by blacks and for blacks. The community originated on the site of an old 5000 acres plantation previously owned by John George Deaderick. In 1890 the plantation was bought by a white real estate developer and subsequently divided into narrow lots which were sold to African Americans. The blacks who bought these lots paid about $40 to $100 dollars for each lot and built "shotgun" houses upon them. This was the beginning of Orange Mound. The residents took pride in these small homes because it was the American dream coming true. My earliest memories of Orange Mound are from growing up on Cella Circle. I walked to Bethel Grove for head start. There were a lot of whites still in that area then. I walked to Dunbar for first grade. I loved going to the Book Mobile that parked at the corner of Cella Circle and Deadrick. Looking back, it is obvious we were not rich materially. Nonetheless, we played hard. I learned to shoot marbles well and run fast. We slept with windows open or fans in the window during the hot summers. How many black folks had air conditioning or even cars back in 1966 or 1967? This was a time when borrowing a cup of sugar was common and everyone rode the bus. I suspect it wasn't easy for our parents. Yet on this same street I developed relationships that have lasted a lifetime. Some have moved to California, Nevada, Texas, or Georgia but I speak to them three or four times weekly, sometimes more. Brotherhood is a part of community.
So homes, brotherhood/sisterhood, and schools make a community. What can be done to build back the Orange Mound Community? We know the answer. It will take all to Serve with Pride and Humility.