Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Essay: Unequal From Birth

Illustration by Katherine Lam
Milwaukee Magazine

Sociologist Matthew Desmond was featured on Lake Effect a couple of years ago, as his book, Evicted, was just coming out.  The book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, as it shed light on the scope of the Eviction crisis in the U.S. in general, and Milwaukee in particular.

READ: 'Evicted' Book Paints a Heartbreaking Picture of a Milwaukee Under Stress

It’s 2018 and eviction is still a problem here.  Writer Barbara Miner explores the issue in an essay in the January issue of Milwaukee Magazine:

Jubilation greets arrival of her grandson, but news of another child's fate tempers that joy.

I arrived in Brooklyn last July to experience a miracle. I held my first grandchild, 10-day-old Cashel Alexander. Overwhelmed by how small and fragile and precious he was, I sometimes joked with my daughter, “Keep him alive, all else is commentary.”

Two days later, that off-hand joke sickened my stomach.

I was skimming through JSOnline, and a headline caught my eye: “How 6 Milwaukee kids died in 5 days.” The first death – I had difficulty reading further – involved Miguel Henderson, a preterm baby with an ailing heart. Miguel died the day after he, his mother and three siblings were evicted from their North Side home. Miguel was 27 days old.

While in Brooklyn, I would look at Cashel, think of Miguel and be tempted to say, “There but for the grace of God.” But I knew that grace had nothing to do with it. Cashel is white, of middle-class parents. Miguel was black, evicted from a home in Milwaukee’s central city...

To read the full essay, visit Milwaukee Magazine's website.