by Walter E. Williams
One of the unavoidable consequences of youth is the tendency to think behavior we see today has always been. I’d like to dispute that vision, at least as it pertains to black people.
I graduated from Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School in 1954. Franklin’s predominantly black students were from the poorest North Philadelphia neighborhoods. During those days, there were no policemen patrolling the hallways. Today close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools. There were occasional after-school fights — rumbles, as we called them — but within the school, there was order. In contrast with today, students didn’t use foul language to teachers, much less assault them.
Places such as the Richard Allen housing project, where I lived, became some of the most dangerous and dysfunctional places in Philadelphia.