A Spooky, Scary Legend | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Spooky, Scary Legend

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Ken Stiggers

Mr. Announcer: "Welcome to the Halloween edition of 'All God's Churn Got Shoes,' the longest-running soap opera on Ghetto Science Television. On this Halloween night, the financially challenged, those who are too broke to trick or treat, gather to hear Grandpa Pookie tell a spooky story about 'The Legend of Interstate 287 and 3/4.'"

Grandpa Pookie: "Not long ago in an inner-city community, the people enjoyed life and lived in harmony. It was a place where ethnic businesspeople employed most of the community folk. It was a place where low-income people lived in affordable homes. It was a good neighborhood where working-class men, women, children and senior citizens thrived. Indeed, it was a good time to be alive.

"And during a period of hatred, bigotry and segregation, neighborhood churches uplifted folk's spirits while accommodating grassroots movements for political action. Just ask someone who lived in inner-city areas like Jackson, Atlanta or Montgomery.

"Now let me tell you about this inner-city community's unfortunate fate. Public officials and policy makers decided to reshape its physical and racial landscape. In came the construction crews with their bulldozers, cement trucks and cranes. They tore down homes, churches and businesses to make room for 'exit ramps' and 'clover leafs.' Then came the traffic, poverty unemployment, crime and grief.

"Please remember this story of a community's tragic fate. This is the spooky, scary legend of Interstate 278 and 3/4."

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