Any favorites? Adam asks. Well, of course, I'm for Denise Jackson, the one who called herself a "crack baby." She from Madison. Here's a video about her. Here's a local newspaper article about her:
"You know how you're supposed to have a childhood?" she explains. In the Chicago housing project where Denise lived off and on, "You don't really get to have that childhood."Good luck, Denise!
With a mother who was largely absent and a father who vanished before her birth, Denise grew up thinking at times that her eldest sister, Nicole, was her mom.
"I think I've seen things that you shouldn't see when you're a little girl," says Denise, who moved to Madison with her grandmother at age 9....
Until she moved to Madison in 1999, Denise had never met a white or Asian person. "The part of (Chicago) I lived in, we never saw these people," she says. "You heard all these stupid things about white people, like white people are mean, they're racist.
"When I came to Madison, I found the sweetest people you would ever meet." Still, she was terrified when she learned her fifth-grade teacher would be a white woman; she'd never had a white teacher. Today she speaks affectionately of how that teacher tried to get her interested in piano lessons. "She would take me out for ice cream," says Denise.
(And thanks to all the great teachers in Madison.)