You Can Go Home Again

Air date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2002
You Can Go Home Again was part of a series, Stories of Home, produced by Alex along with Amy Drozdowska. The series won a George Foster Peabody Award. It aired on WBEZ.

Rob Paral grew up in Cicero, Illinois, a working class Chicago suburb best known for its single-minded efforts to keep African Americans out, as intense and as forceful as anything seen in the Jim Crow South. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to Cicero as “ the Selma of the North.” Paral spent his teenage years scheming how he could run from a father who, for Paral, came to represent all that was provincial and misguided about his hometown. He did run. But eventually Paral had to come home – and it was only then that he really came to know his dad.


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. 

© 2018, Alex Kotlowitz. All rights reserved