Black History Fun Fact Friday – The Short Violent Life of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer: So Young to Kill, So Young to Die.

On Wednesday, August 31, 1994, Yummy “Robert” Sadifier was shot in the back of the head with a .25 caliber pistol at a viaduct at 108th & Dauphin Avenue in Roseland, Chicago, IL. At 12:30 am police found him lying on dirt and bits of broken glass according to newspaper reports. They pronounced him dead at 2:20 am, on Thursday, September 1, 1994. He was the city’s 637th murder victim of the year.

On January 3, 1993, The Chicago Tribune ran a headline, “Killing Our children,” that read: “In 1992, 57 children age 14 or under were murdered in the Chicago area, felled by snipers, sacrificed by gangs, killed by parents. It was a year for burying the young.”

In early ‘94, when I was just in the second grade and we lived in the Robert Taylor Projects on Chicago’s south side, my uncle came to pick us up from school early because the gangs were at war and there was a lot of shooting. We had to run to our building, shielded by our uncle.

This is the kind of environment Yummy’s growing up in.

Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was born on March 12, 1983, the fourth of ten children born to Lorina Sandifer. His father, Robert Atkins, went to prison three months before he was born and Lorina was a prostitute who neglected her children, according to news reports. On January 19, 1986, they removed Robert Jr. from his mother’s home when police found him and his older siblings in the house alone. DCFS, the Department of Children and Family Services, intervened in August 1986 and turned Robert and his siblings over to their grandmother Jannie Fields. But a Cook County Probation Officer, according to Time Magazine, said that Field’s home was not a nurturing place for Robert. The young Robert found refuge in the streets among gang members as most young black males do who grow up poor, no family, no friends, no education and little opportunity. Yummy joined the gang and racked up a record too long for his young age.
  • January, ’92 – Arrested
  • July ’92 – Prosecuted for robbery, case dropped, witness doesn’t show
  • January ’93 – Attempted robbery, trying to steal jacket, witness doesn’t show, case dropped
  • May, ’93 – Attempted Robbery, key witness doesn’t appear
  • June, ’93 –  Robbery Charge, sentenced 2 yrs probation, he is only ten

Yummy was charged with 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in his short life. He was prosecuted on eight felonies and convicted twice; sentenced to probation – the most punitive penalty available under state law, at the time, for children under 13. Even for murder, state law barred jailing children under 13 in an Illinois Department of Corrections youth facility.” – https://newafrikan77.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-forgotten-story-of-robert-yummy-sandifer/

Yummy also used guns, allegedly killing Shavon Dean, a 14-year-old girl who lived next door to him two weeks before his own murder.

“Police hunted Yummy, putting descriptions of him in the paper and pounding the streets for the eleven-year-old on the run. By midnight, August 29, 1994, the Chicago Police were working with FBI agents with 20-30 officers involved (Detective Cornelius Spencer). “Dozens of police officers – tactical units, gang crimes officers and detectives –joined by members of the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force fanned out searching for the boy as far away as Milwaukee, nearly two hours away, where Yummy had a relative, Nevels told The Chicago Sun-Times. The case was discussed at roll calls at every police district in the city.” – https://newafrikan77.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-forgotten-story-of-robert-yummy-sandifer/

Grandmother fields also searched for her grandson. She received a call from him asking why the police were looking for him. He was ready to come home. They agreed to meet on 95th Street but when she got there Yummy was gone. She waited until 10:00pm. The boy never showed. Yummy was murdered at 12am, a sad end to a 77-hour boy-hunt that put Chicago on the map for its violence.

Robert had no mother, no father, and no family to nurture him. In fact, he was abused. He was taken to the hospital at 22 months with cigarette burns on his body.

“There were 49 scars,” said Donoghue at the trial of Derrick Hardaway. “I had to use two diagrams.” There were so many scars on Yummy’s body he could not use the one chart typically used by medical examiners.”

He turned to the streets and was said to be an impressionable kid. He looked up to gang members and was a member of the BDs or Black Disciples. Based on the descriptions of the robbery charges and the witnesses “not showing,” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that the crimes Robert committed were being ordered by older and higher-ranking members of the gang. They had to silence him before the police got to him. “Dead men tell no tales,” said a 37-year-old uncle of Robert. “They put him to sleep.”

How does one judge the criminal life of an eleven-year-old with no stability? I can only imagine how scared he must have been with the FBI and police looking for him.

Robert_sandifer

As a kid, Robert was small for his age. He loved to swim, draw, and loved cars. He loved Gyros, Chocolate Chip and Oreo cookies. He loved cookies so much so that it gave him the nickname Yummy. A neighbor interviewed says he was bad, fought and broke into people’s houses.

The mayor of Chicago admitted that Yummy had slipped through the cracks. Just what cracks were those? The sharp crevices that trap children and break them into cruel little pieces. Chicago’s authorities had known about Yummy for years. He was born to a teenage addict mother and a father now in jail. As a baby he was burned and beaten. As a student he often missed more days of school than he attended. As a ripening thug he shuttled between homes and detention centers and the safe houses maintained by his gang. The police arrested him again and again and again; but the most they could do under Illinois law was put him on probation. Thirteen local juvenile homes wouldn’t take him because he was too young.

-Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine

“Nobody didn’t like that boy. Nobody gonna miss him,” said Morris Anderson, 13. Anderson used to get into fistfights with Yummy. “He was a crooked son of a___,” said a local grocer, who had barred him from the store for stealing so much. “Always in trouble. He stood out there on the corner and strong- armed other kids.” (Murder in Miniature, Time Magazine)

“Everyone thinks he was a bad person, but he respected my mom, who’s got cancer,” says Kenyata Jones, 12. Yummy used to come over to Jones’ house several times a month for sleep-overs. “We’d bake cookies and brownies and rent movies like the old Little Rascals in black and white,” says Jones. “He was my friend, you know? I just cried and cried at school when I heard about what happened,” he says, plowing both hands into his pants pockets for comfort before returning to his house to take care of his mother. “And I’m gonna cry some more today, and I’m gonna cry some more tomorrow too.”

According to Yummy’s aunt:

“He wasn’t violent and he wasn’t bad. The way they talkin bout now, that’s not true. He was this and he was that and I know that he was not. He was very short to be his age, he was real short. He was very smart he could draw, he could read, he could write.”

Gloria, Robert’s Aunt, Weekend TV, September, 1994

According to news reports though, Robert was illiterate and personally, I believe it. I think he was smart (as his friends says he used to invent stuff and at 11 he already knew how to drive cars), but I also believe he had no guidance and no one there to nurture him. I believe his aunt that he was smart but I also believe he struggled in school. Coming from a broken home and struggling as he did goes hand in hand with not excelling academically. I wish there was someone there to nurture his intellect. It makes me sad to think he had no one.

Shavon’s aunt, the teen Robert killed by stray bullet, also says in the same video that she never had a problem out of Robert. “He respects me,” she said in the film. She has even taken him on a trip with her. She says, “I can’t say that he killed my niece because I wasn’t there. It was at nighttime and nighttime has no eyes and bullets have no direction.”

Was Yummy innocent or guilty? Did his age make him innocent or did his murders make him guilty? How does one judge the criminal life of an eleven-year-old who was about to turn himself in when he was shot in the head? And what of the two young brothers found guilty of his murder? They were young too and ordered to kill Yummy by the same gang in exchange for their own lives. This story is sad because ultimately, four babies lost their lives: Shavon Dean (14), Cragg and Derrick Hardaway (16 and 14, currently spending their lives behind bars for Yummy’s murder), and Robert “Yummy” Sandifer.

Only Yah can judge them.

 

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On September 2nd, the Chicago Tribune ran an article called Robert: Executed at 11, calling Yummy a Victim and Victimizer. September 19, 1994, Yummy stared out at the country on the front cover of the September edition of Time Magazine with the headline:

“The Short Violent Life of Robert ‘Yummy‘ Sandifer: So Young to Kill So Young to Die.”

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Even Salt Looks Like Sugar

We are six days away from the eBook release of my new novella, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar so this is your once in a blue moon shameless self-promotion post. Go get it!!

Okay. Now that I have your attention. What is this about any way?

Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

You should read this book if:

  • You are into Young Adult Fiction
  • You are passionate about African American experiences
  • You love women’s fiction
  • You love and care about children
  • You suspect something is wrong with America’s Foster Care system
  • You’ve been in the foster care system
  • You are a mother
  • You didn’t grow up with a mother
  • You are short on reading time (this is a short novel)
  • You are short on finances (this book is just 99cents)

PreOrder this short novel today in eBook at just 99cents on Amazon. CLICK HERE!!

Mark as “Want to Read” on Goodreads if you want to read it. CLICK HERE!!

Remember, setting up a Goodreads account is FREE and only takes a moment!

Thanks so much!!

 

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Black History Fun Fact Friday – The Atlanta Child Murders

If you’ve been paying attention, there is great fear surrounding Chicago and the Illinois suburban area. Young women and children are going missing and are being found murdered. The murders are graphic with some of the women being found with body parts missing and found in garages. The terrifying accounts have been reported in the West, South, and suburban parts of the city. While it is starting to be shown on the news in the city now, I am not sure if it has made international news (they aren’t showing it in Georgia. I had to hear it from my sisters and the internet.)

This has brought back thoughts of The Atlanta Child Murders. I thought I’d recap what this was for those of us who may not have known.

What became known as “The Atlanta Child Murders” happened in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981, when about 29 Black children, teens, and young adults were kidnapped and murdered. A majority of the killings shared common details. In 1979, for instance, Edward Hope Smith, also known as “Teddy”, and Alfred Evans, also known as “Q”, both aged 14 and from the same apartments, disappeared four days apart. Their bodies were both found on July 28 in a wooded area, Edward with a .22 caliber gunshot wound in his upper back. They were believed to be the first victims of the “Atlanta Child Killer”.

On September 4, the next victim, 14-year-old Milton Harvey, disappeared while on an errand to a bank for his mother. He was riding a yellow bike, which was found a week later in a remote area of Atlanta. His body was not recovered until November of 1979.

On October 21, 9-year-old Yusuf Bell went to the store. A witness said she saw Yusuf getting into a blue car before he disappeared. His body was found on November 8 in the abandoned E. P. Johnson elementary school by a school janitor who was looking for a place to use the bathroom. Bell’s body was found clothed in the brown cut-off shorts he was last seen wearing, with a piece of masking tape stuck to them. He had been hit over the head twice and the cause of death was strangulation. Police did not immediately link his disappearance to the previous killings.

On March 4, 1980, the first female victim, 12-year-old Angel Lenair, disappeared. She left her house around 4 pm, wearing a denim outfit, and was last seen at a friend’s house watching Sanford and Son. Lenair’s body was found six days later, in a wooded vacant lot along Campbellton Road, wearing the same clothes she had left home. A pair of white panties that did not belong to Lenair was stuffed in her mouth, and her hands were bound with an electrical cord. The cause of death was strangulation.

atlanta-child-murders-victims

I won’t go on as the accounts get more and more disturbing. The FBI joined the multi-agency investigation in 1980. The investigation was closed following the conviction of Wayne Bertram Williams for two of the murders in 1982. After the trial, law enforcement linked Williams to 20 more of the 29 murders. Not all of the missing children have been found and not all the murders were attributed to Williams. Some believe he was falsely accused.  Those days, it was hard to know what to believe. Tensions were high and rising with each body found. Hundreds of residents volunteered for a community watch program at schools, playgrounds, and shopping centers. Others took up baseball bats and patrolled the streets.

Children teased each other about getting caught by “The Snatcher” as the assumption was that it was just one killer but officials at the various local, state and federal agencies working the cases couldn’t agree.

In the wake of missing children and young people again, this time in Chicago, it’s imperative that we all be careful. These are dangerous times and it really doesn’t matter where you live. Be careful out there people and keep an attentive eye on your children.

Sources:

‘It’s terrifying’: Chicago community fears 4 missing females may be linked

https://www.myajc.com/news/crime–law/why-five-atlanta-child-murder-cases-are-still-unsolved/CdHuMiEvsBelz1TZDZy5oJ/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_murders_of_1979%E2%80%9381

Body found in garage identified as missing woman Shantieya Smith

http://allthatsinteresting.com/wayne-williams-atlanta-child-murders

New Release – Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas (Book One) by Sojourner McConnell

I am honored to have the opportunity to introduce you to a new author. She asked me if I could help her to promote her new release and of course, I am always willing to help. That said, you don’t know Sojourner yet but you will! She will be interviewed on this blog next month. Until then, she has a new release! Whoop!

First, let’s get to know Sojourner a bit:

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Sojourner McConnell lives in Winchester, Kentucky with one of her daughters and three of her thirteen grandchildren. She has six grandchildren in Alabama and four that live in Michigan. With all those children and grandchildren, she has crafted her storytelling skills. Sojourner’s new book is a children’s chapter book, Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas which is available on Amazon now.

Her next book, Blip, is a Sci-Fi book with humor and intrigue and is due out by December 2017. The Path of the Child, The Power of Forgiveness, and 31 Days of October are also available in paperback and in eBook format on Amazon and other retailers. Sojourner brings a taste of strong personalities with a healthy dose of southern charm to her characters.

“You know what really grinds my gears? When Sojourner is on the computer ALL day.” – Beau

When not writing, she is busy entertaining her Australian Shepherd, Beau. Unfortunately, Beau tends to get jealous when she spends too much time working on the computer.

OK already, that’s enough. We don’t wanna give away too much of the goods before the interview! Now, about the book!

Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas?

(The Dolcey Series Book 1)

About.

When the wind brings the cries of children to her ears, Dolcey is spurred into action. Comforting and aiding children in need are her main focus. Welcome to Dolcey’s world. Welcome to a world of magic and endless possibilities. When Emily has a big problem, her family tries to help, but some problems need something special to make things right. Just when it seemed she was destined to be doomed, she discovers an unexpected savior- a magical cat that will lead her on a spectacular spectacle of an adventure like no other!

You Can Get Your Copy of Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas? Here!

(you know you want to. You’re asking yourself, “Wait, who is that in the cat pajamas? WHY are they wearing cat pajamas??)

…and Sojourner will see you again next month!

Note: I was not paid in the promotion of this book. 

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Beautiful Boy and Beautiful Girl by Jenita Hunt

Title: Beautiful Boy, Beautiful Girl

Author: Jenita Hunt

Print Length: 22 pages

Publisher: J L Hunt; 1 edition (March 23, 2016)

Publication Date: March 23, 2016

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B01DDYU91E

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

Beautiful Boy and Beautiful Girl are two very short picture books for children. Simple, fun, and rhythmic, these books are great as goodnight stories or quick reads for your little ones. Incorporating everything a child enjoys, colors, pictures, and rhyme, it is sure to encourage “itty bitty’s” to look at their world in a positive light.

Many of you know me from my writing and this blog but before I dedicated my time to writing full-time, I worked with children. In fact, to an extent, I still do.

I taught creative writing as part of Louisiana’s In-Home School program for about four years and then I helped to run a research and fellowship center in Shreveport for about five more years teaching and working with children. Having experienced being around kids and working with them, I enjoyed taking the time to stop reading novels for a moment for something simple and found these books a breath of fresh air. I noticed that I smiled through my reading of them both. As someone passionately in love with children, I hope to see more from J.L. Hunt in the future.

The Author, Jenita, has always had a heart for children and writing. She has worked several years caring for children as a Professional Nanny and has been honing her writing craft over the years.

Ratings:

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 4/5

Overall Rating: 5 / 5

Beautiful Boy and Beautiful Girl are both available on Amazon in both eBook and Paperback.

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Be Sure to Follow Jenita online!

https://www.amazon.com/J-L-Hunt/e/B01DDAKQX4


As a reminder, I am closed to Book Review Submissions at this time for a chance to catch up on my TBR pile. I will let everyone know when I am open again.

Stay tuned for my next awesome author!

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Life

So what’s going on people? It’s been awhile since we talked together so I thought we’d do that today. So…

OK, I’ll go first.

So my husband is doing well. His leg is strong and we’re getting back in the swing of things. Though I do hate he’d have to go back to work soon…boo. Oh, and I do have an exciting new update. I’ve been on baby duty lately. No, I’m not pregnant (yet lol) but I am baby sitting and I must say he’s the absolute cutest. So yea, he’s the culprit taking up my blogging time. You cutie you!

BJ
Nephew BJ, Age: 1

BJ has been waking me at 7am with sweet kisses and lots of love. I mean, just look at him. Who can resist that face?

Hmm, what else? I went to Houston recently so that was pretty cool. Got to spend some much needed family time and all that good stuff. I mean, I had to do some work too but I enjoyed seeing the fam while we were there. It’s been raining a lot lately too, which of course is inspiration to write more. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this blog know how much I love the rain by now. I love the calmness of the air and listening to the wind.

That’s it for me, for now. So, what’s up with you all? How is life?

Our Children

You are fourteen
And despite the infantile laughter
The one gentler than the fresh coat of love
on a baby’s skin
Your mothers must warn you
That certain skin tones won’t allow you
to flash open innocence
you are not allowed to purchase candy,
tell jokes,
or fall in love with cream colored coffee
or show your strength in the open hallways of street corners
do not point your skin in the direction of authority
do not showcase your authority in the open air my sons
do not boast in the black pearls
radiating from your smiles my daughters
hide your treasured possessions
until it is time for them to be fulfilled
certain histories won’t let you forget the present
or give the permission for childhood
to take advantage of your fingerprints
responsibilities follow you home in warm booties,
blankets,
and prophecies
If you had known that your existence
would give birth to a movement
If you had known that your birth would echo the sounds of captivity
long before your feet hit the ground
before your mother’s pelvis danced against your fathers
and his kiss brushed upon her skin
did they tell you that you were born for this?
did they tell you about the cries of Israel
when they reached into the heavens like hands
just as heavy as your parents hearts
knocking against the doors of heaven
because too many of their prayers ended in question marks
did they tell you that you were supposed to die?
that you had
final movement stamped to your backside
like a receipt back to the soil
like your fathers had spit their seed into a melody
An Amazing Grace and Birmingham Sunday
carving it’s lyrics and your names into the history books
of our yet unborn
and while you rest
they march scripture on the bed
of your misunderstood