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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beauty hides the turmoil

The photo's that I am posting today were shot on 06/28/09.
These are images from a wall that is visible the moment one exits Red Mountain Expressway in Birmingham, Alabama. This wall of beauty runs two blocks, literally dividing the city. What most people just driving through would not know is that behind these walls lies one of the most dangerous area's in Birmingham. This area is called Southtown.
Southtown is a 455 unit apartment complex and sits directly in the middle of Birmingham. From Southtown the beautiful homes of Red Mountain are visible. Just north of Southtown you will find UAB, Birminghams largest employer, Medical Complex, and University Campus. Southtown is surrounded by Lawyers, Doctors and College Students.
One would imagine that Southtown would be a fabulous place to live. Center of the city; walking distance to everything. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Southtown covers nearly 25 acres and 8 city blocks, but this area is known for it's drugs, crime and violence. The ringing of gun shots is, unfortunately, a familiar sound to the residents of Southtown. From April 2008 to May 2009 there were three homocides in this area alone.
The majority of us could not even begin to imagine what living in Southtown must be like. For many, this is where life has brought them.
I do believe that we all have the ability to change our lives. But, I also believe that for many, it's not as simple as that. Some individuals find themselves in a situation, and in time, they begin to accept their circumstances. For all too many, they lose hope.
The fourth of July is approaching quickly and most of us will spend the day with family and friends. We will barbeque and sit back and enjoy the fireworks. For many at Southtown, they will lock themselves in their apartments in hopes that a stray bullet will not make it's way through their walls.
It's a shame that all too often we only see the beauty and fail to realize that behind that beauty lies turmoil.
Southtown walls were painted in 1981 by artist Vance Wesson.

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