iOS app Android app

Urban America

Driving Into the Past for Answers About My Father & Me

John W. Fountain | Posted 06.20.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

Driving into Evergreen was like driving through a cloud of smoke into the past. The roads looked strangely familiar, as the events of 1979 seemed to come back to life. There was the police station uptown where Mama, my stepfather, Net, and I had gone to get a copy of the police report.

Crisis in Flint Lingers; Faith Rises Amid Faces of the Poisoned

John W. Fountain | Posted 05.11.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

Photo: Pamela Powell, a native daughter of Flint whose parents still live there said she feels betrayed by the government, which switched the city's w...

Always a Red Rose for Mama

John W. Fountain | Posted 05.10.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

These memories help comfort me. For they are a reminder that for as long as I have life and breath, our mothers live inside of us. They are a reminder that a mother's love is eternal. And reason enough, for me, to always wear a red rose on Mother's Day.

Survival 101: Thou Shalt Not Snitch

John W. Fountain | Posted 04.11.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

Would someone who gave vital information to police stand more to gain, or more to lose? And if the bad guys should come for them, masked and under the cover of night, which of us could they then call? Would the cavalry arrive too late, if at all?

Talking Right's Not Talking White

John W. Fountain | Posted 04.08.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

I am aware that some things still haven't changed; that being smart or a schoolboy still ain't cool; that rude boys and gangsters still get the girl; and that the groveling, often hard-to-understand ghetto talk still embraced by one world can cripple a child in another.

The Children Die, Their Blood Cries, Under A School-day Sun

John W. Fountain | Posted 04.06.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

A little girl stands with her family at the vigil of a man slain on the streets of Chicago. (Photo: John W. Fountain) Amid the killing, the more tha...

How This Big Champ Taught A Little Boy To Hope

John W. Fountain | Posted 04.06.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

John Fountain poses with Muhammad Ali, a childhood hero, during a chance encounter. By John W. Fountain In a treasured photograph, I stand smiling...

Seeing the Innocent Girl in a "Prostitute"

John W. Fountain | Posted 04.05.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

I wonder why more brothers can't see that using these terms is just another way to justify the inhumane treatment of our sisters, daughters, mothers, girlfriends, wives.

Dear Incarcerated Brother: Don't Lose Hope

John W. Fountain | Posted 04.01.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

And I am praying for you--without judgment. Believing in you, hoping for you--on the "free" side of those cold steel bars, and yet, still in the struggle.

To 'Trifling' Brothers: Time To Man Up

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.29.2016 | Chicago
John W. Fountain

I have heard some sisters' tales of sons, husbands and lovers exercising their daily ritual of chilling in the basement, smoking blunts and drinking forties and thumbing the Xbox 360 or PlayStation while the woman of the house "holds it down."

Finding the Real Meaning of Easter... Beyond the Walls

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.28.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

A preacher and his wife, plainly dressed, wearing no vestments, neither bathed in pomp and circumstance, administer the Lord's Supper. They lift the bread and cup to the mouths of some of those gathered here for a morning service.

A "Saint" Tries to Reel in a "Sinner": Me

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.25.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

This is my conversation with a "saint," the name church folks affectionately call other believers. No one is named here. The irony sad. The story true...

Get Over It? I Don't Think So

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.25.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

By John W. Fountain "...Time to get over it," read the letter from a Latino brother in response to one of my recent columns on racism. "Latinos, Asia...

Amid These Times, Reflections on Kinder, Gentler Days

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.25.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

John Fountain (right corner) as a little boy playing during a family dinner outing, circa 1960s. By John W. Fountain We stood at the front door in a...

Black Lives Didn't Matter In Killer's Eyes

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.18.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

In his last breath, I wonder, did Tyshawn wonder why he was about to die? Or whether--if black lives really matter--why his assassins most likely looked like the family he saw soon after he first opened his eyes?

Frances Is Not Forgotten

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.09.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

Long before hashtags, before Black Lives Matter marches and social media campaigns, the names of Chicago murder victims have been etched into the hearts, psyches and souls of family members and friends. Among them was Frances Colon, 18. I promised her mother I would not forget.

Abandoned By My Church: No Place For Me

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.09.2016 | Religion
John W. Fountain

Even in an age of preacher as celebrity, it is not the evolution of a Bling Bling Gospel that most disheartens me. It is the loss of the church's heart and soul: the mission to seek and to save lost souls through the power of the Gospel and a risen savior.

Abandoned By My Church: No Place For Me

John W. Fountain | Posted 03.03.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

Somewhere along the way, for us, for me, the church--the collective of black churches of the Christian faith, regardless of denomination--lost its meaning, its relevance. It seems to have no discernible message for what ails the 21st-century black male soul.

Into The Cold; Our Fight Against Alzheimer's

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.26.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

John Fountain and his mother Gwendolyn Marie Hagler Clincy during happier times celebrate his graduation from Wilbur Wright College. CHICAGO--In ...

Winter Can Be Harsh, But I've Known Colder

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.25.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

(Photo: John W. Fountain) By John W. Fountain CHICAGO--It is a snowy, cold winter day. But I've known colder. In January 1979, snow blanketed the p...

The God Who Embraced Me

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.22.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

I believe in God. Not that cosmic, intangible spirit-in-the-sky that Mama told me as a little boy "always was and always will be." But the God who embraced me when Daddy disappeared from our lives--from my life at age four.

12 Things Every Young Man Needs

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.22.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

Dear Son, there are 12 things, in my humble opinion, that every young black man needs.

"I Am A Shadow..."

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.16.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

I am not invisible. I am a shadow. People react not to me, but to the exaggerated image of me; to the two-dimensional shadow that is every black man.

Black History: "I can't, I won't forget"

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.16.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

I stood there on the grounds of a white stone castle that once held African slaves. For my ancestors, it was a journey that began on the other side of the "Door of No Return," thousands of miles from the shores of America. I stared at the door, walked through it. I imagined the horror.

What If Fred Hampton Had Not Been Killed?

John W. Fountain | Posted 02.10.2016 | Black Voices
John W. Fountain

At a vigil, Chicagoans take to the streets to call for an end to the violence. (PHOTO, John W. Fountain) CHICAGO--I drove down Fred Hampton's old bl...