The block in Chicago, where the First Lady, Michelle Obama grew up is now considered to be the most dangerous stretch of road in Chicago, if not America.
The 6400 block of South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, has been dubbed “O Block,” due to vicious gang fights for control of the streets. The “O” stands for Odee Perry, a member of the Chicago Black Disciples gang, who was shot dead in 2011.
All-in-all a total of 19 people were shot and killed on O Block between 2011 and 2014, which, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report, makes it most dangerous block in Chicago.
“Wiiic City” is another nickname given to the block, which reportedly stands for Wild, Insane, Crazy.
But life on the block today is a far cry from what it once was 25 years ago.
“It was nicer back then, flowers planted in the beds, the grass kept up, less violence in and around the complex. You have to watch yourself more these days,” a woman told the Sun-Times.
Back in the early 60s, Michelle Obama enjoyed life on the quiet Parkway Gardens and she spent the first two years of her life living there before her family moved in 1965.
In a Time interview from 2009, Michelle spoke fondly about her childhood memories of the complex, saying it was, “a wonderful, small apartment building… but now when I pass it, it’s — I was, like, God, I never saw that apartment in the way that I’m seeing it now.”
Rev. Corey Brooks of the New Beginnings Church of Chicago, who also spoke to the Sun-Times about the area.
“The environment was family-focused. People were working. When you eliminate all those things from a community – men not in the household and education failing – it will be a drastic difference than what the first lady of the United States and her family experienced.”
It is a shameful state of affairs, although since 2012, the number of shootings in Beat 312, which includes O Block, is down by 59 percent through September, the police say.