Redline: Kids in Crisis, Part 1

The end of the Civil War spawned the dawn of a day in Meridian with the birth of a new community. Identified in later years as 'Redline,' it was an area just yards away from downtown that was founded and settled by African Americans.

"Union troops were garrisoned, I understand, just where Barber and Son's is. And it is thought that the African Americans who settled in Meridian after the war felt safer near the Union troops," said Billy Beal, local historian. "Education and religious institutions after the Civil War start in this area."

The home of many doctors and educators for the black community, residents have had, and continue to have, a sense of pride. However, the problem is that some of the community's former glory has been replaced with guns.

In doing this story, I knocked on doors for days trying to get residents to talk on camera about crime within the area. Many were afraid of retaliation. But four willing to talk openly about the problem.

"It was just a peaceful neighborhood," said J.T. Clark.

Clark moved to 'Redline' with his wife, Miriam, fifty years ago. He says things have changed, mainly due to people from the 'outside' coming in.

"They're people that come through the neighborhood," said Clark. "We don't even know them."

Clark and the others we talked to say many of the 'drifters' are young people passing through, who leave their mark often with damage caused by gunfire.

"They're in their cars and just shooting out of their cars for no reason," said Miriam Clark. "A lot of people in our neighborhood say they have had to dodge. One of our neighbors said he had to hit the floor."

"I said, 'Ain't nobody shooting that many times', but they were," said Mable Stringfellow.

In late September, a house, an apartment building and several cars were punctured by gunshots in a weekend drive-by.

Two months prior to that, an elderly woman in the area was shot while walking in front of her house.

To the dismay of these residents, this type activity is becoming the norm. Residents are calling on the city to do something about it.

"They haven't done anything yet. So, that's why we are we are here. We've got to have something done about it," said Clark.

In Part 2 of this special report, find out what the city says it is trying to do to solve this problem.

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  • by Mack on Nov 3, 2011 at 09:48 AM
    I used to work in the Banking Industry. There Redline refered to an area of a city that bankers would not lend to. The powers that be would literally drawn a red line around Black neighborhoods. So regardless of an individuals ability to repay a loan no bank would approval a loan in a REDLINED area. Residents would have to borrow from high interest lenders such as pawnshops, pay-day lenders, and finance companies. Seems community services are using the same formula.
  • by Been there, done that! on Nov 2, 2011 at 10:34 AM
    Why don't these people that live there ask their president for help. Oh, I forgot he is to busy taking more taxes from the middle class to support the poeple that won't work so they can go to the doctor and have food on the tax payers behalf and then go out and sell drugs and shoot people for money to buy rap music and cars with big wheels on it. HMMMM
  • by JAMIE Location: DECATUR on Nov 2, 2011 at 10:08 AM
    Jennifer, I couldn't have put that better!
  • by Concern Mother Location: Meridian on Nov 2, 2011 at 09:48 AM
    I once lived on redline back in the days and it wasn't nothing like it is now. I think it's only fare to say crime is being commited on every side of town. One is no better than the other I have 2 boys and i can only pray and try to show them the right path to take. This gang activity is what has these young kids mind and thats what i don't want for my kids,but prepressure is something else and i know kids should be taught at home and thats what most parents do so they can't help if their kids get with the wrong crowd it's not like they didn't tell them better so don't blame the parents cause some of us are hard on our kids we as a community need to come together and look out for each other time to let these gang member kno that we are going to fight back and get our community back
  • by cw on Nov 2, 2011 at 09:14 AM
    careful what you wish for ,if the thugs leave redline area where they gonna go,thats right,your neighborhoods.
  • by Kat Location: Meridian on Nov 2, 2011 at 08:23 AM
    How can Been there, done that! say that no one cares about that area! Tht is an outrageous statement. I am white and live in the country but I care about the good people of this area. I work in Meridian and call it my home town. I want it to be safe for all its residents! And, Rell, unfortunately, many youth today do not care about their history, black or white. It has become a me me me society. I think it is only as we get older that we realize the value of our personal history. Praying for peace in the Redline community.
  • by Jennifer on Nov 2, 2011 at 04:37 AM
    It's not "outsiders" committing crimes in Meridian, it is the people who were born and raised here. They are the same people you sit by in church, work next to, and whose family you have know for years. Wake up people! No one is keeping anyone down... but with their own selfish mentality. Too many people in this area want something for nothing and feel entitled to things they have not worked for. That mentality breeds criminals. Nothing will change until people speak up against those who they know or even suspect are committing crimes. Take some responsibility for the garbage in this town because it was born and bred right here, in Meridian! Stop having children you don't want, stop having babies just because you can. Be parents and grandparents. Discipline your children. Stop blaming society for the way they are. Look in the mirror because that is where the answer to this problem lies.
  • by Betty Location: orange park Fl on Nov 2, 2011 at 04:06 AM
    with a comment like "who cares" nothing will ever be any better.Residents and police need to take a stand and stop living in fear as it only makes things worst.
  • by redline?kids on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:53 PM
    Help me. The CITY OF MDN AND KIDS.
  • by harry on Nov 1, 2011 at 07:47 PM
    When will the police chaof give the media the crime arrest.. Come on Cheif we want to know
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