On September 2, 1997, one of the best books ever written about ghetto life was published: “The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood,” by journalist David Simon and ex-cop Edward Burns.
To fans of good television, Simon and Ed are now heroes for their work on HBO’s “The Wire.” To a large degree, that show grew out of the many months they spent on the streets of West Baltimore, observing the chaos of human lives and telling people’s stories.
I’ve known David Simon for nearly 30 years. And the best thing that ever happened to me was when he brought me on as a screenwriting partner for the HBO version of “The Corner.”
So I’ll honor this anniversary by pointing you to a 17-minute radio piece that aired on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” in January of 1998. It includes interviews with some of the people featured in the book – DeAndre McCullough, Fran Boyd and Ella Thompson.
To hear it via NPR’s online archives, follow this link. (Word of warning: You might need to experiment to find the right combination of media player and Web browser to stream this audio. RealPlayer on Firefox worked for me.)
Ella Thompson, who operated a neighborhood youth center, is now dead. But her spirit and good works live on through the Ella Thomspon Fund, a charity set up and supported by Simon and Ed Burns. Click here to visit the website for the Ella Fund, see what it’s about. Contributions are always welcome.