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Living and Dying in the Ida B. Wells Housing Projects: My Story Hardcover – October 12, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 114 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (October 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595704158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595704156
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,089,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A. A. Watts lived in Chicago’s Ida B. Wells projects until leaving for college in 1965. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in education and taught in several Chicago middle schools. Watts lives with her husband in rural northern California.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Eric Gerard Pearman on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reading Anya A. Watt's childhood account of life inside the Ida B. Wells and Clarence Darrow Homes public housing projects was a moving and interesting tale regarding her odyssey. Overcoming negative social pathologies, within the hood, and maintaining ones integrity, despite the actions of others around, is a testimony to the moral and positive values instilled by her parents. Simply put: she was raised in church, its teachings reinforced at home, and both parents lived by example.

In her opening chapter, the author declared: "I knew where I was and felt a need to be elsewhere." Like her, while public housing was my childhood comfort zone, I sought to dwell somewhere else. During the 1960s and 1970s, I lived in the Ida B. Wells Homes. My address was 574 E. 36th Street, apartment 207 inside the seven-story Extensions on Vincennes Avenue. Ellis Park was directly to the rear and Grace Presbyterian Church sat several yards adjacent to the building.

I felt the author's pain when she lost her best friend at age six. Nothing could be more traumatic for a child than to be confronted by a situation that no one explained to her--the death of a friend. There are examples of people who foretold their demise. In Dee Dee's case, adorning her six-year-old frame with a "white Easter dress and [standing] at the top of the stairs" gave insight into her glimpse beyond the Jordan. Somehow she knew she would grace the presence of her Creator. What irony that her death, from spinal meningitis, was the same illness that took the life of Eugenia, the little sister for whom the housing project was named after--Ida B. Wells.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader45 on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was drawn to this book simply because I am in love with the topic of Public Housing. It is hard to get a hold of the voices of past and present residents, and books such as this are always a joy to read. However, there was something missing from Living and Dying. The ending caught me off guard and I didn't realized I had finished until I suddenly ran into blank pages at the end. For the most part I was unable to put the book down, however I believe there could have been more added (details) or her journey was too short to be published. Nonetheless, it has been added to my collection of public housing narratives. 3 stars.
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Format: Paperback
Knowing the author I felt compelled to read the book thinking that I already knew this story since I grew up on the West Side of Chicago and felt our backgrounds were similar. I found Anya's story most compelling. This book had me crying and laughing at the same time. The history of the projects and the residents are very real. When she was almost raped I cried because I had a similar experience but never shared it with anyone. Her description of her parents is heartwarming. They were not educated but were so wise and wholesome. When she was crowned May Queen I felt like she finally got something good from that hell hole Holy Angels Elementary. You must read this book if for no other reason than to hear the story of how she got to college; it is worth it.

I, like, other readers wish there had been more to read but I also have inside information that the story will continue! I cannot wait for the continuing saga of Anya's journey of living since Ida B. Wells Housing Projects. BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE REST OF THE STORY!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Craine on June 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm glad the author wrote this book because it tells about the Ida B. Wells Projects in the early years, when it was a positive experience. I lived in Ida B. Wells in the 1950's and 1960's and some of the experiences the author had were similar to mine. For example, belonging to the girl scouts, Holy Angels Church, Lincoln Center and walking to Lake Meadows Shopping Center. I was sad to learn that it was torn down.
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