Human Commodity

Air date: 
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Credits: 
Part of a series, Stories of Money, Human Commodity was produced by Alex along with Amy Drozdowska. It aired on WBEZ.
Description: 

Today, Fanny Clonch is a high school teacher living in Chicago. But for a period of her childhood, after being orphaned in Morocco, she was trapped in households where she was nothing more than a commodity. The story of her grandmother, who as a child had been sold into slavery and eventually escaped, inspired Fanny to find a way out.

Books

Chicago is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart.

Separated by a river, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor are two Michigan towns that are geographically close, yet worlds apart. St. Joseph is a prosperous, predominately white lakeshore community while Benton Harbor is impoverished and predominately black. When the body of Eric McGinnis, a black teenage boy from Benton Harbor, is found in the river that separates the towns, relations between the two communities grow increasingly strained as longheld misperceptions and attitudes surface. 

There Are No Children Here chronicles two years in the lives of two boys, Lafeyette and Pharoah, struggling to survive in Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes, a public housing complex disfigured by crime and neglect. 

© 2017, Alex Kotlowitz. All rights reserved