The Luther Block Chronicles: In Pictures

Luther Avenue is a small street in the cuts of West San Jose. It's a unique place where impoverished families and middle class homes sat side by side. It's a place where I spent my childhood acting like the big dog. Baylingual aka Ookie Robinson takes you on a photographic journey through his block, Luther Block.

Luther Block is a place full of epiphanies, trials, and tribulations that made me, and still makes me. It's cholos on the corner, cops always to ready to jump, house raids, college renters, crazy baby mommas, guys who dress like ladies.These are the images that tell the story of my overlooked home: Luther Block.

Queens Donut Shop: Outside of the neighborhood bakery stands a promotional van, thats been there long as I can remember. In this parking lot. My cousin got stabbed outside it, got stood up on my first date here, I even got chased by rollers into the donut shop where I would by donuts when it was curfue and I would hide for hours till the sun came out.  


The Corner: Not where you stand 'cause your in trouble. This corner was full of memories like kickball tournaments between Luther kids and Rainier kids. I was blessed for the first time on this corner, played hide and go seek on this corner, had break ups on this corner, had my first fight on this corner. We weren't ghetto youngsters, some were in impoverish lifestyle while others were middle class. 

Luther Block: Nothing out the ordinary, just a street that has its own stories thats never been told. Spent countless hours on the street running up and down, meeting many interesting people. From junkies who run around like cockaroaches, to dusty foot philosophers talking about their spirit animals, to the homies that moved away 'cause rent went up. We usedta be posted on the street 'cause we was kicked out of our houses for the night. C
ops patrolling the streets like killer whales looking at us, baby sharks, as if a meal ticket. 

Mary's Market: Mary's was the place growing up, literally the owner remembers me back when I would steal candy, and now he sees me as a grown man purchasing my beverages. This market is in the same lot as the donut shop. I remember  hanging outside the store for hours on some 'Jay and Silent Bob' tip, shoulder tapping and laughing with the homies, hollering at the females who would come to buy some arizona's. 

Street Light Parking Plaza: In the neighborhood where I am from, has a base built off Race St, Luther Ave., Rainier St, San Fernando, Morrison, Eugene, and Park. these streets create an industrial, urban, suburb, midtown, impoverish feel. Which is why people would park undr street lights. People are haters, I would know, had my car keyed a couple different times. 

Gated Community: Home owners would typically have a gate in front of their house to keep people with or without dogs off their properties, or to keep their dogs inside. But a gate never kept us youngsters off porches, hanging out, or jumping over fences from the cops so they won't take us to the curfew centers. 

Dead End: Eugene is where alot of low income families would stay, this street is a street over from Luther. A place where the paisanos would be twisting glass pipes, sipping corona's, playing mariachi music all night long till they got to go to work. Hung over or not, they were the epiphany of play hard, work harder. 

Race St: Is the Industrial part of the area. On this street is alot of smal business's from mini dentist office's, hair salon's, janitorial store, dry cleaners, and at the corner of Luther and Race, there is a place where guys dress up like females and roll around the streets on the late night. Countless times have they hollered at me, asking if I wanted to kick it while waiting for the bus. I remember getting pulled over twice on this street on my way to the liquor store, it was a crazy times. 

Call Collect: I cannot tell you how many times I'd catch someone talking on the phone crying, how many shady low voiced deals were being made, or the mexicanos would be calling their families back in mexico. I even remember a couple different times where there was yellow tape around the pay phone, with cops all in the parking lot cause the corner store was robbed. 

About Baylingual

Baylingual is a San Jose Photographer, Youth Organizer, Video Producer, Journalist, and commentator of De-Bug. He posts local music releases on this site called "We Speak Baylingual Music Blog". He is also in the works on a video series interviewing artist all over the bay area, about culture, community, and anything in depth with the interviewee called 'Chopping Game'. 

Write him at:

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I'm very PROUD of you Danny who you become and where you going 2 and the things you're accomplishing... you're so intelligent son and I want you to continue doing the thing you love to do...and for trying to help others and that's an amazing part is you do with love...god bless you always Mijo....I remember that your Mom is very proud of you ... I Love you Ookie♡

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