The Documentary
The Collins Family
Viewer's Guide
Filmmaker Tod Lending
Legacy Legislative Update
The Documentary
Documentary Navigation Map
Chronology of Events

This chronology presents a snapshot of selected years, and items within each year, including statistics relevant to families, women and youth; and social history events.


At age 22, Dorothy moves into Chicago's Henry Horner Homes.

Statistic: Today, families with a female householder with no husband present exhibit the highest rate of poverty, 32%.

Social History: Law student Phillip La Fayette Gibbs and high school student James Earl Green are killed at Jackson State College when 75 city and state police officers open fire on student protestors in Jackson, Mississippi. James Earl Green was simply taking a short-cut home from work.


At age 12, Wanda begins living in the streets.

Statistic: Over 60% of the people living in public housing entering eighth grade drop out of school without completing high school.

Statistic: 15.4% of children under age 18 in America are poor in 1976.


Alaissa drops out of school in the eleventh grade.

Statistic: In 1978, 9.7% of all black women and 11% of black men dropped out of high school in the 11th grade.

Alaissa gives birth to Nickcole -- the first of her 5 children.

Statistic: About 80% of the children born to unmarried teens who drop out of high school are poor, compared to 8% of children born to married high school graduates aged 20 and over. The vast majority of teenage mothers today are single.

Sept. 27, 1994

Terrell is shot and killed at age 14.

Statistic: 3,608 children and teens are murdered by firearms in the United States this year.

Statistic: In 1995, about 75% of homicides committed by offenders under 21 years old involved firearms.

Oct. 3, 1994

Terrell's funeral is held.

Statistic: 69.6% of murder victims were killed by guns.

Dorothy receives an anonymous gift of $10,000 for a down payment on a house.

Statistic: According to the New York Times, in 1994, of the total American work force, white males held 43% of the jobs, white females 36%, minority females held 11% and minority males held 10%.

Alaissa moves her family out of Henry Horner Homes and into a small apartment.

Statistic: 337,000 unsubsidized units of public housing affordable to extremely low-income renters were lost between 1991 and 1995.


Nickcole graduates from Madonna High School and enters college at Northern Illinois University.

Statistic: Women with a high school diploma earned an average of $13,407; while women without a diploma earned $8,861 or less in 1997.

Statistic: The teen birth rate in America fell substantially from 1991 to 1996, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Oct. 4, 1996

Wanda enters the drug treatment program at Haymarket and begins her recovery.

Statistic: In 1995 the average inpatient hospital stay for alcohol dependence was 7 days.

Nickcole and Johnny Pierre become engaged to be married.

Alaissa is promoted to Kindergarten Teacher at St. Malachy Elementary School. Dorothy begins house hunting process.

Information: HUD funds housing counseling agencies throughout the counrtry which can give advice on buying, renting, defaults and foreclosures, and reverse mortgages.

Social History: In August 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act reformed the nation's welfare laws. A new system of block grants to the States for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is created.


Alaissa takes the General Education Diploma (GED) test.

Nickcole marries Johnny Pierre.

Wanda marries Tyrone Jackson.


Nickcole and Johnnie have baby daughter, Amari.

Nickcole graduates from college.

Making of Legacy