Bro. Shabazz

I’ve lived here on Anderson Lane – a bizarre dirt road compacted between the backs of other houses – for nearly a year now. Lying as it (literally) does between the “right” side of the tracks and the “wrong” side of the tracks, my life here has not been without its share of interesting “experiences.”

No more quotes, I “promise.”

ZING.

Towards the end of the lane, across the street from a profoundly seedy gas station, exists the “Black Holocaust Memorial” – a closet-sized shrine adorned with carvings of various historical black icons. It is also rigged with an FM radio, which allows it to play R&B music on the most magical of afternoons. I love the shrine – I have loved it since I moved into this half-cottage – and tonight I finally spoke to the man who is behind this piece of bizarre public art. His name is Bro. Shabazz, and he is running for mayor of Savannah on the “New Black Panther Party” ticket.

When I introduced myself, he was carving another piece for his ever increasing haberdashery (!) of black cultural items. It was clear from the outset that he was not happy speaking to a skinny white boy in the middle of the night, but I persisted. He now knows my name, and I know his, and I suppose that is all I can ask of the “Black Holocaust Memorial” creator in a disturbingly racially divisive town like this one.

My only hope is that the next time I wave to him he waves back, instead of scowling at me as he has been incessantly wont to do since I moved in.

(The pictures are from my new cell phone – I take them when I feel like it, I post them immediately after I take them, and I hope that means something to you. It’s like you’re all with me, but not. Not really at all, actually, and this – I often think – is the profound (and ironic) tragedy of this technological age.)

Bro. Shabazz in ’08.

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