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The Truth About Philadelphia

Melvin Floyd
Pastor/Community Activist, Germantown

Question #5: What do you believe is the secret to living together peacefully in the city of Philadelphia?

Glenn: Well what do you, what do you, you know, when I see, ____ like the Grey's Fairy neighborhood and things like that, I feel very personally, like part of the City is, is, has been wounded and hurting. And I wanted to know, you know, what you believe is the secret to living peacefully together in the City. It's a big question.

Melvin: It's upbringing. It's training. It's conditioning. I was born and raised in North Philadelphia in 1935. Whether anyone believes it or not, North Philadelphia was completely integrated. The street I lived on between Columbia Avenue and Montgomery, ______ Street, a little small street between 8th and 9th Street, was a completely integrated street. We played together, we laughed, went to school together ______. Fight? Why you want to fight for? Why? My God, if you, you, you hit, you hit neighbors kids who just might be white. You hit him? Not only your mother tried to beat the black of a you, I mean everybody. I mean they condemned you for that. You, God in heaven only knew the next time you got out to play, cause nobody else could tell you the next time you got out. Why? You, you, no, you like to hit, right? So, we're gonna, we're gonna fix your red wagon. You'll be, you'll be ninety years old before you get out to play again. That's the way they treated you. So I mean when you did go out, and you were, all, everything you did was timed. Everything you did was timed. You can go out to play for fifteen minutes, ten minutes, half an hour. And no one had a watch but the old men who had a vest and they carried a watch down there. But you, you knew, you know when to go back in that house. Why you, you don't hit somebody? You gonna argue with a ri, you gonna, you out here raise your voice at the kids you're playing with, and the, and the women run to the door with their aprons on? They thought something, you got hurt or something, they run to the door. And you, you made my heart beat fast cause you're screaming at your play mates? Get in here. I'll kill you.
Training. You treat everyone like you wanna be treated. And we've, we've lost that. See, we. So the law has to come in. Here again, the law has to come and say, you hit him. Okay, we got a place for hitters. Okay. But the law has failed us. It just has.

Glenn: What, what's your greatest hope for the future of this City?

Melvin: That it would become Christian. Period. Become Christian and, and follow the principles, love thy neighbor as thyself, and they put first and you last. God, neighbor, then you last. We twist it around, me first, oh, my way, me, me, me, me. Everybody else. I don't care about nobody else but me. Turn it around. We'd have a, we'd have a show case of a city. People would come for everywhere and say, I just wanna go that City to see how those people do that. We had it. Okay in one City in my lifetime we had it. We really did. Respect. We had it. Somewhere, coming, coming toward the end of the '40s, going to the '50s we began to lose it. By God, by '65, the turbulent '60s. We're still trying to overcome the '60s. The explosion, the revolution came in in '55, the sex revolution came in. Dr. Timothy Leary stood up and says, hey this is the way to go. LSD, man. Oh, get you some LSD, man. Get yourself a high, man. This is the way to go. Cast off all restraint. Don't let nobody tell you what to do. Do as you please. Hey, don't be concerned about no one but yourself. And we've been going downhill morally every since. We're trying a little bit to swing it back up a little bit. I can see signs of a swing a little bit now because people, people are getting tired of it now. They're looking for. They got a new Police Chief. And what the Mayor told him, clean the City up. So you can see, you know, clean it up. And he said, oh, you got the right one now. You got the right one now. Okay, I'm gonna clean this place up. So we can see, we can see little, little indications of the trying to upswing a little bit.

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