The American Dream Denied

Lionel Youngblood

I was so happy to get a lot and my wife and I, we were just like you buying your first home. … we already knew my wife’s grandmother lived around the corner... I watched them put the pylons in on this ground right I’m like, damn, I see they must have some solid ground here … when they laid the foundation down I was here, you know, I was excited.

This is the biggest lot back here, this lot right here that you are at now in my house… I picked the property because I thought I was going to be able to expand and grow you know. …. So one day, I was out here before we moved in so I said, well, I’m gonna come and see. I set up some boundaries and put my grass in and I had sand dropped; I’m thinking everything was cool. Then I dug a hole and I was pulling up nothing but glass. I’m like, god damn … What they got in the ground? They had never said this was a landfill. They never told us that you’re living on a dump

they had five mayors came through here. All of these people came through here, they knew what was going on. But nobody was smart enough or strong enough to go against the grain and say, let’s get these people out of here...

... When I found out this place was infested with chemicals, I stopped my daughter from having parties here. She was about 13 years old, I stopped it, saying, no parties here. You understand? ...I got the biggest yard back there. I don’t even cut my grass. I stopped cutting my grass. … I don’t even like my dog in the backyard. You understand? So I don’t even wash my car here. … We don’t drink the water, we only bathe in it you understand and wash clothes and stuff like that, mop the house and stuff … I’m trying to be a health freak. I take plenty of vitamins, I work out… I have a disease called pernicious anemia. Y’all ever heard that? It’s a blood disorder and it will check you out of here, … I consider myself an athlete because I played basketball until I was 65 years old. The doctor had made me stop. I got pernicious anemia. I got rheumatoid arthritis. And I’m  talking about severe, okay? And I can see it’s taking its toll on me now. Because I can’t do the things I used to do.

... I got four girls. And they came here, they stayed with us until they got their house. I wouldn’t let them outside. Nope, y’all can’t play out there. Play in the front, right down the concrete. You know, and they always wondered why. Now they grown women, now they see.

This page has paths: