If Herman couldn’t stay clean and sober in Texas or Louisiana, there was no way he was going to stay sober in Los Angeles, with the amount crack cocaine out in the streets, White told his mother. Nonetheless, she welcomed him. Herman remained that way for about a week and a half before his addiction kicked in, White said. Herman landed in Skid Row, according to White.
PW: Back in the day, we would go downtown and shop … but I didn’t know that Skid Row existed, and someone called me and told me I saw your cousin Herman on 5th and Crockett. … I did not find my cousin, but that day, I really found myself, because I looked all around, and there was nothing but Black bodies everywhere! Black bodies in the shadows of what I consider the skyline of oppression, because Skid Row is situated right under the towers or in the towers of Arco Plaza, and and all these multinational corporations. Then when you look to the North, you see City Hall, and you see the court building, and so, within a stone’s throw of all of these centers of power laid Black bodies, laying out on the street and no one cared. No one cared enough to think about building power to move the system. And, it was for me, and this didn’t happen that day of course, I had the epiphany. The thought happened, when I saw who could arguably be my mama, my sister, my auntie, my uncle, my dad, all of that moved me to say this is family. But, it would be a bit of time before I was able to do my sort of assessment and my sort of landscape on what existed in Skid Row and what did not exist in Skid Row, our way of building power.