Interview Highlight Bookmarks
Coney Island native Shavon Meyers is a photographer, visual artist, and storyteller who began writing poetry in 8th grade and realized her gift for rhyme with a poem about riding the D train. Shavon shares childhood memories of growing up in Gravesend Houses, summer days at the beach and Astroland, and attending Our Lady of Solace School. She recalls being on a pioneering girls basketball team in the projects, a neighbor's tradition of decorating their building for Christmas, and a teacher introducing her to Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Shavon reflects upon seeing the neighborhood from the top of the Astrotower in the 1980's and '90s. Every space where there's a tall building or a business now, there were vacant lots back then, she says. What stands out for her in contrast to the gritty and almost desolate air is the sense of community and the family orientation, especially in the public housing developments. Shavon's performance and production of the poem "The Way We Were" from her book of poetry Quiet Storm, Volume I is a fitting coda to her oral history interview: "I can't forget my life back in the day. Wish I could reach in the pockets of the past and repay."