The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Looking At The Good South Side Beyond A Little League Baseball Team

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 26, 2014 7:15PM

the campus of Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep in Roseland. (Image via WGN TV screen grab.)

The feel-good story of the Jackie Robinson West Little League Team has provided Chicagoans, however brief, with a view of the South side that normally doesn’t fall into the “lather, rinse, repeat” trap of guns and drugs and murders. The true story of the South side is much more nuanced than that. Having lived in Bridgeport for 15 years, I’ve learned, and continue to learn, positive things about life south of Roosevelt Road that inspire and amaze.

Daniel Kay Hertz is another who understands there are other positive stories happening on the South side besides a precocious group of tweener baseball players and makes a convincing case for why the South side is Chicago’s best side. Starting with a reminder of how many South side neighborhoods—including Bridgeport—are ethnic melting pots, Hertz dives in with gusto with photos of the streets surrounding Jackie Robinson Park; a map of black middle class neighborhoods on the South side; and the economic success of Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep in Roseland.

In the process, Hertz reminds readers of the brouhaha over how parents from Walter Payton College Prep wouldn’t allow their kids to travel to Brooks to play a baseball game last spring.

(I)f Payton parents - whose views, I imagine, are broadly representative of those “global city” households downtown and on the North Side, and in analogous neighborhoods across the country - won’t go to Roseland on a chartered bus to play a scheduled high school baseball game at one of the city’s elite selective enrollment high schools, they’re certainly not going there to spend any money at the local businesses, or to open businesses, or to visit the local sites, like the Pullman Historic District. Their ignorance demands that these places, and these people, be completely shunned.

Hertz saves his parting shots for a media too concerned with posting the violence happening out South on headlines and front pages.

If you spend years telling your readers that the South side is a “war zone,” then you don’t get to be surprised when your readers treat it like a war zone.

Hertz’s complete post is worth a read and his website should be in your RSS feeds.