The bench was wet, but he sat there anyway. Josiah had sat there every day for nearly 33 years. He had been on the street that day; the day that Charcoal Alley got its name. He was nine years old when 103rd street had been razed to the ground at the hands of the rioters. He could remember the heat; it had been unbearable, all of the stores burning along the road.
As he sat and watched the new Blue Line train zip by the old Watts Station, Josiah could not help but think of the angry mobs of men, looting and fighting in the streets. Like a lot of kids he had hidden from them, but he had watched. Seen things that no child should see. There were times when it seemed so far away to him; now there were strong black figures in the movies, the pop charts, in politics even; so much more than then, and that was not really the half of it. Even if the election brought Obama to the Whitehouse there would still be his memories of that time. Hate would take longer than a man’s life to be banished, as far as he could tell.