fountain

John W. Fountain biography

A native son of Chicago’s West Side, John W. Fountain is an award-winning journalist, professor, and author of the memoir True Vine: A Young Black …Read More

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Thankful for a lesson on cherishing the moment

In the cold, I could find no traces of her footprints in the snow. I stared down my block into the darkness of midnight and the snow-laden, frigid streets. My heart pounded. My thoughts seemed frozen. “Ma?” I called out, hoping she was close enough …

‘Chiraq’ is the wrong name for the city I know

This is the last in an occasional series titled “Chiraq.” Farewell to Chiraq. I never loved you. You are not my city. Never my kind of town. Not the one I was born in. Not the one I remember growing up as a little boy. …

Who can save us? What about us?

“ I f the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.” — Dr. Carter G. Woodson, 1875-1950 What about us?  I know about …

The world still needs inside agitators

Give me my agitator or give me death! My agitation all started a few weeks ago when our old washing machine, after just a dozen or so brief years, appeared to be on its last leg. Regrettably, the time had come for us to part …

Where is organized religion in Chiraq?

Is there no balm? No hope for healing rising from the church in America? Emanating from the community of faith, here in “Chiraq,” where the blood and cries of murdered children glare like red embers, flickering against a pale night sky? Why no evidence of …

Dear Dr. King, What would you say today?

“As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. . . . The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his …

On twerking, dreams and other random thoughts

Just my random thoughts: In today’s world of twerking grandmothers and cursing grandmothers, of clubbing, fighting and sometimes frightening grandmothers, I’m so glad I had a praying grandmother. (Singing: “Grandmother prayed for me, had me on her mind, took the time to pray for me. …

Don’t preach that prosperity madness

My final response to a pastor friend who I asked whether my writings on the institutional Christian church are too critical. Hey man, I appreciate and respect you. You’re one of the few brothers I would even venture to have this conversation with. I didn’t …

Too critical of the church? Why aren’t you?

My response to a pastor friend who I asked whether my writings on the institutional Christian church are too critical: Brother, thank you for your honesty, stinging a bit, as some of it was, lol. But I asked for it. Despite the sting, specifically as …

‘A burger with chips is all that I am after’

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me . . .” —Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man” I am a shadowy creature, here on Michigan Avenue, at an outdoor café, or perhaps I am invisible. At 11 minutes 20 seconds since I punched the …

We, the media, keep missing the story

This is the last in a series titled The Sweet Season. For photos, video and more on The Sweet Season, visit www.johnwfountain.com . Page-one pathology. Front-page fatalism. Ten o’clock neuroses. Murderers, muggers, robbers, rapists, we are. The number-one suspect. Societal menace. Thug. Heartless. Criminal. Or …

Baseball principles teach kids not to give up

This is the third excerpt in a series titled “The Sweet Season.” For photos, video and more, visit www.johnwfountain.com. In the bottom of the 6th and final inning, the tension was thick like molasses. Win or lose, the season for the Matteson/Olympia Fields Cubs was …

Thanks, Mama, and may you rest in peace

This week’s column is an excerpt from my memoir, “True Vine: A Young Black Man’s Journey of Faith, Hope and Clarity” and a tribute to my mother, Gwendolyn Marie Hagler Clincy, who died on Friday, Aug. 22, after a long illness. Itook one last look …

‘The only thing stolen: bases’

This is the second excerpt in a series titled The Sweet Season. No fatalism. No pathology. Simply a slice of life in middle America. Of little boys and men with Little League hopes and dreams. No gang. Team. No guns. Bats. The only hitters are …

The Sweet Season begins in Ford Heights

This is the first excerpt in a series titled The Sweet Season: The sweet season. It is a time when little boys are innocent, free, no matter what cruelty their eyes might already have seen. A time when smiles curl easily at the edges of …

Warning for parents on how to raise a killer

This is part of an occasional series titled Chiraq. How to raise a killer: First, fathers, abandon your sons. Never cradle or nurture them. Wholesale kick them to the curb soon after life begins. The sooner, the better. Never spend time with them, never show …

Fewer shootings mean no less hell

Apall hung over the city like a dark cloud. Police scoured the streets in search of an 11-year-old murder suspect on the lam. His name was “Yummy.” He was, according to police, at his tender age, already a hardened criminal. Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was believed …