Thursday, September 15, 2016

Amazing Grace

Article by Jonathan Kozol

First off, this is one of the most heart-wrenching pieces that I have read. I was aware that the Bronx is a poorer community of New York, but I guess I did not realize the extent of it.  

Kozol takes a trip to the South Bronx and gets a tour from a young boy named Cliffie. Cliffie knows more than any child his age should know about disease, drugs, and violence. As Cliffie takes Kozol on the tour to different locations, Kozol lets us know a little bit more background about where they are. The South Bronx is filled with crime, trash, homeless people, and drugs on the streets.
Cliffie's mom states, "There's trashy things all over. There's a garbage dump three blocks away. Then there's all the trucks that drive through stinking up the air, heading for the Hunts Point Market. Drivers get their drugs there and their prostitutes"(Kozol 10-11).

In this video, they give a tour of the Bronx and some background information on it. They also mention about trucks and prostitution just like Cliffie's mother does in the above quote. This video will give you a better visual of the South Bronx as it is described in Amazing Grace. The streets are filled with garbage and homeless people trying to survive one day at a time...Nobody deserves to live like this but in reality, it is happening and the South Bronx is one of the poorest cities.

The rate of people that live in poverty in the Bronx is at a high rate. Kazol states at the beginning of this story, " Brook Avenue, which is the tenth stop on local, lies in the center of Mott Haven, whose 48,000 people are the poorest in the South Bronx. Two thirds are Hispanic, one third black. Thirty-five percent are children. In 1991, the median household income of the area, according to the New York Times,was $7,600(Kozol 3).    It is clear from the statistics that every family struggles in the Bronx. They do not have enough income to support their families and make ends meet. 

In this article, discusses the statistics of the people who live in the bronx. The article lists the poverty level, unemployment rate, drug and alcohol use, and much more. The article goes into further and more statistics that were mentioned in Amazing Grace. 
These are the issues that Kozol is pointing out in his article. By writing a first-hand account about the condition of the South Bronx, it allows the reader to become aware of the issue of poverty in the city. The children continue to suffer everyday and know far too much about things that happen in this city as in the drugs and violence. 

**I also figured I would add in this video that shows pictures of the South Bronx at a slower pace than the first video. I happened to come across it on youtube while looking for videos... It is six minutes long but, you could watch a couple minutes and be able to tell how poor the city is. ( Weird music but good pictures!!)

Points for discussion in class: 
Kozol gives us a first hand look at what it is like to live in the poorest city of the US. I feel as though one of his points in this article is that you never know where someone comes from unless you see it firsthand. Another point that I think is important is the issue of trying to solve this poverty rate. How can we help these innocent children out of this terrible area? How can we help their families? I don't think we are as aware as we think we are of what some living conditions are like in cities however,  I cannot speak for everyone. 


  1. Nicely done! I liked the video that you added in about the south Bronx new piece. also good use of multiple quotes to help explain.

  2. We used the same video, great minds think alike! The video we both chose on the South Bronx supported your theory really well on what your point was about how the south bronx is one of the poorest cities in New York where lots of crime and other things happen. I feel that we both through the same about the bronx when there are children involved. I didn't know much about the life of someone who lived in the bronx after reading this article. You did a great job explaining your thoughts out:)

  3. Great post Cassie! This was one of the most heart wrenching articles, so so sad. I really liked your video showing the level of poverty on the streets of South Bronx. You did really well explaining your thoughts and agree with you that many of us are unaware of what city living conditions are like.