Footage for the documentary "Voices of Cabrini." Shot between 1995-1999, it documented the Cabrini Green redevelopment project proposed and carried out by the city of Chicago. This video contains footage of the Pratt family in Cabrini Green. There are several interviews with Mark Pratt where he describes growing up in Cabrini. Pratt takes director Ronit Bezalel on a walking tour through Cabrini, ending in Smokey Playground.
0:00Copy video clip URL Color bars.
0:08Copy video clip URL Ronit Bezalel standing on the sidewalk: “The Area! Right there is Cabrini-Green; this way is the Gold Coast…” She details the changing landscape of the area. “Today we’re going to interview Mark Pratt and his kid and his friend…” Bezalel gives a walking tour of the area.
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1:30Copy video clip URL Cut to the hallway terrace outside Mark Pratt’s apartment. Pratt’s children come out and chit chat with Bezalel. Mark Pratt comes out onto the terrace with a baby in a carriage. They make their way down to back entrance of the building.
4:25Copy video clip URL Cut to a long shot of the Pratt family leaving the building. The video is shot from the terrace outside Pratt’s apartment, through the metal grate protecting the hallway, down onto the family on the sidewalk.
5:00Copy video clip URL Cut to graffiti on a hallway wall: “Pimps.”
5:05Copy video clip URL Cut to Pratt’s children on the sidewalk. They run to meet up with their father, who is taking the baby around the block.
6:01Copy video clip URL Cut to Pratt and children walking down the sidewalk of the apartment courtyard.
6:39Copy video clip URL Cut to Pratt’s children running in a park toward a jungle gym.
7:03Copy video clip URL Close up of Mark Pratt watching his children on the playground.
7:06Copy video clip URL Long shot of Pratt, baby, and carriage on a sidewalk. They navigate through a puddle the has crept up along the side of the sidewalk. Crew follows them on their walk.
8:02Copy video clip URL Pratt gives a milk bottle to his baby. He stops to look at a boarded up building: “This is what this place will look like in the next five years, either boarded up or bricked up or torn down completely. And where are we gonna be at? I have no idea.”
9:27Copy video clip URL Cut to Pratt sitting on curb. A field of grass and dandelions is in the background, along with the other apartment buildings of the housing complex. Pratt: “1150 and 60, notoriously known as the Palace. The Headquarters of the Cobra Stones…they’re one of the first, most organized gangs in Cabrini. More importantly, this building represents everything that is bad and everything that is good, the past and the future of this neighborhood. At one point in 1993 it was 98% filled. From 93-95 it began to slowly empty out…It’s really a weird feeling to know that there’s nothing that exists on this part of Cabrini anymore…”
12:10Copy video clip URL Bezalel: “Why do you stay?” Pratt: “…No, I couldn’t have sat here before…but all of Cabrini wasn’t dangerous…I can go wherever I wanna go, but I just can’t travel stupidly…The kids and I traveled to Lincoln Park and the museums, our life isn’t just Cabrini…but this is home for me…I love living here, it’s my neighborhood.”
13:42Copy video clip URL Bezalel: “Wherever you grow up there are places you remember…can you show us some stuff here…?” Pratt points to the playground, called Smokey Playground, behind the school. Pratt: “At one point this whole [curb and runway] would have been filled with mothers and their strollers…” He reminisces about distributing the Voices of Cabrini newspaper, old friends, and his first girlfriend. He talks about the Cabrini Olympics at the field behind him.
17:28Copy video clip URL Bezalel asks Pratt about the violence and what keeps him there under the threat of violence. Pratt: “Like I said before: you can’t travel stupidly…in the past, most of the violence that took place…the people that got hurt…exposed themselves to that…” Pratt: “You can’t explain an internal connection, a spiritual connection, to something.” He elaborates the fact that, to him, Cabrini is his home and his Chicago: “I don’t let the violence control me.” He describes how violence is not just localized to Cabrini and details the “radar” he has developed in order to travel smartly.
22:02Copy video clip URL Pratt holds his nine month old, Tracy Myanna Pratt. Pratt and Bezalel talk about how Tracy Myanna is spoiled. They leave to pick up Pratt’s other children.
24:38Copy video clip URL Long shot of Pratt and Tracy at the curb, showing several buildings and the field. The two walk past the crew. Camera follows their walk, showing the entire north skyline of the city.
25:19Copy video clip URL Pratt takes a photograph of his son and describes how metal scavengers are gutting the condemned building. One of the scavengers was a former leader of the Cobra Stones. He uses the condemned building as a lesson for children to show drug and gang territories aren’t really all that powerful. Pratt: “If you’re not part of a gang, more likely you’re not going to be bothered. But, because of the psychological boundaries we build up in our minds, like with me growing up as a kid, I would never have come over here to play. There was no reason for me to come here to play. My life existed here, in the Wild End as we called it, and that’s where we stayed.”
27:54Copy video clip URL Antonoio Ferrera asks Pratt how Cabrini is different from earlier ethnic ghettos. Pratt: “…The only difference Cabrini has…is the fact that the ethnicity here is all the same. Those areas were divided because of their ethnicity, but here it’s black-on-black…When you don’t have anything to turn against from you, you start creating differences among yourselves.”
29:51Copy video clip URL Ferrera: “How is Cabrini now dealing with the fact that it’s not going to be divided anymore?” Pratt: “Cabrini is not dealing with that.” The crew stops the interview, because Pratt’s hat is casting a shadow over his face.
30:54Copy video clip URL Over-the-shoulder shot of Pratt looking over the Palace building. Pratt: “This is the Palace here. Was home to the Cobra Stones, oldest gang in Cabrini, and the empty lot there used to have another building, 1157-1159, and the one building there, the small one, is 1158. This is Phase 1, now complete.” He points to Phase 2, 1500 and 1502. Most of the people in Phase 2 have accepted “Section 8” vouchers in the suburbs. Pratt and Bezalel walk down the sidewalk. They chat about a new playground built by Lord North. Pratt emphasizes that playgrounds are open to all children. Pratt points out now-empty lots along the way and Byrd School.
36:27Copy video clip URL Bezalel: “What would you like to see changed and what would you like to see stay the same?” Pratt: “Well, one, I will like to see new homes actually being built here and new homes actually being offered to residents who are qualified and capable of maintaining and supporting those homes. I’d like to see the youth center be rehabbed, the school be torn down and a new one built, I’d like to see better management, a much stronger screening process…” He also describes tighter punitive measures on people who break housing rules and an elimination of nepotism.
37:39Copy video clip URL Bezalel: “Would you tear down these buildings?” Pratt: “I would tear down some of them…they’re slums.” Pratt discusses the various kinds of public housing for the poor, and how the size or shape of the buildings amount to nothing in comparison to drugs, gangs, and unemployment.
39:40Copy video clip URL Cut to a playground on top of a concrete lot. Pratt’s children play on the equipment. Long take of one of Pratt’s sons playing with a seesaw.
42:48Copy video clip URL Shot of Pratt and Bezalel on a bench in the playground. Bezalel asks Pratt how parts of Cabrini got so desperate. Pratt: “I remember vividly where about 60% people in my building were working…but when the Montgomery Ward store closed [their store on Larabee] that put a lot of people out of work over here, and the factories on Goose Island down Division Street that closed up, that put a lot of people out of work over here. This is, like, mid-70s, early 80s when a lot of the hotels went out of business…it just got really hard to find a job…The most important thing, I think, is that people became desperate…A man who can’t feed is family, he’s no man at all…”
46:49Copy video clip URL Pratt: “The answers are very simple…People need to be retrained all over again…The biggest problem I have is getting guys to understand that they have to take the responsibility upon themselves.”
49:24Copy video clip URL They walk over to where Pratt had his first kiss on the playground. He goes over the old layout of the playground.
52:03Copy video clip URL Pratt describes seeing his first shooting near the playground.
54:59Copy video clip URL Cut to Pratt and his children at the playground benches. Pratt takes a picture of his children.
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55:46Copy video clip URL End of tape.