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LeAlan Jones has 1 media appearance.

Aug
3
LeAlan Jones
Booknotes, Sunday, August 3, 1997
LeAlan Jones discusses Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago.

Teenagers LeAlan Jones And Lloyd Newman, Tell Story Of Chicago's Ida B. Wells Housing Project. NPR Radio Documentaries Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse With Producer David Isay, Served As Basis For Book. "LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman have told us a story that should tear at our hearts. They speak of a 'different America.' One where crime, drugs, lack of jobs and every imaginable social ill work to break the human spirit. Yet, some youngsters rise above it. But too many of them don't have a chance, they are trapped. Read this moving chronicle and resolve to help a young person in need in your community to believe in the American Dream." —General Colin L. Powell In 1993, the fresh, original voices of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman stunned the country in Ghetto Life 101, a National Public Radio documentary that received more than a dozen national and international awards. Jones and Newman would go on to produce another acclaimed NPR documentary, Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse, which examined the brutal murder of a five-year-old by two young boys. These startling and poignant documentaries earned Jones and Newman this year's Peabody and RFK awards. With the help of NPR producer David Isay, these two extraordinary thirteen-year-olds gave America a clear-eyed snapshot of their lives within the Ida B. Wells Homes, Chicago's most notorious public housing development. OUR AMERICA: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago is the third part of this trilogy, and a startling look at the "other" America that most of us rarely see. OUR AMERICA is drawn from more than 100 hours of taped interviews, conversations and monologues that were not included in the original NPR documentaries. Jones and Newman report the truth as they see it with honesty and wit, showing us their world from the inside-out. When we first meet LeAlan Jones, he is living in the Ida B. Wells with an extended family that includes his grandparents, two sisters, two nephews, and his mother (who suffers from manic-depression). His quiet, but always-curious sidekick, Lloyd Newman, lives with two sisters who have cared for the family since their mother died at age thirty-five. With tape recorder in hand LeAlan and Lloyd travel throughout their community interviewing family, friends, neighbors and teachers. No topic is too tough for them to handle. From what it's like to grow up without a father, to their hopes and dreams, Jones and Newman explore it all. OUR AMERICA is also an investigation into the murder of Eric Morse, who, in October 1994 was thrown out of a 14th story window by two boys, ten and eleven-years old, for refusing to steal candy. The murder made headlines nationwide and resulted in visits to the Ida B. Wells Homes by reporters calling for action and politicians promising change. Weeks later, everyone was gone--except Jones and Newman: "So in January 1995, when we were both 15 years-old, Lloyd and I decided to try to do something: to be messengers to the world about the Ida B. Wells, and let them know that something has got to change. We picked up our microphones again to find out the story of Eric Morse." Jones and Newman undertake a year-long investigation to uncover how and why the crime occurred. They interview the prosecutors and public defenders involved in the case, housing police officers who knew the killers, and the head of the Chicago Housing Authority. They meet with the father of one of the defendants, who is in a correctional facility three hours outside of Chicago. Again, and again, they return to the building where Eric Morse died to talk to residents and interview members of his family. It is a courageous inquiry into a crime that the rest of the country quickly forgot. Illustrated with the remarkable photographs of John Brooks, OUR AMERICA is a powerful work in the tradition of There Are No Children Here, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Anne Frank. The Diary of a Young Girl. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)
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