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*story | South Main Film

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*story

 

SOUTH MAIN is an intimate portrait of three single African American mothers as they struggle to raise their families and regain their lives after being evicted from an apartment complex in South Los Angeles.

A loud knock is heard on the front door. “If he comes just tell him I’m not here,” Tajuana Green whispers as she peeks from behind her bedroom door. “Can’t nobody come in my house. Don’t even unlock the door. Just talk to him right there.” Tajuana ducks down and listens as her son explains to the landlord that his mother is not home. She does not want to move again. It’s only been six months since she was evicted from the complex at 69th and Main Street.

The apartment complex she moved from is located in South Los Angeles, the part of LA known as South Central until the “Central” was dropped in an effort to blur collective memories of violence and blight. The property was home to a notorious street gang called the 69 East Coast Crips and became known within the community as the “Headquarters of Death.” In the Cities effort to revitalize the community, they kicked out the gang members and gave and the law-abiding residents an eviction notice and an $8,000 relocation subsidy.

The day before the move Latisha’s fiancé, Antione, is killed in a drive by shooting on the sidewalk in front of their unit and dies. As she grieves, Latisha talks, one month later, for the first time in great detail about her experience the day that Antione was murdered. Through the details, her story unfolds, revealing her love for Antione, the class and racial inequality they experienced that day and that she is one month pregnant with Antione’s baby.

A fresh start and $8,000 gives Tena and Tajuana new hope. Tena moves her family into a single family house a mile away from the old complex. She uses the relocation money to make the house a comfortable home by stocking the refrigerator with food, buying new bedroom furniture and school uniforms for her children. As the money runs out, the pressure of poverty and the threat of becoming homeless weighs on Tena. She works full time and navigates government subsidy programs, but can barely make ends meet for her family.

Soon after the move, and after all of her relocation money is gone, Tajuana hears from her landlord that she may be evicted again. The family spends several months in a state of limbo, confused as to why they may have to move and unsure about their rights as federal housing voucher recipients. Tajuana’s hope is that if they do have to move again they will be entitled to another $8,000 relocation subsidy. She works overtime as an in-home care nurse for the elderly and sells clothes for extra money in preparation for the worst.

SOUTH MAIN begins the day before the complex at 69th and Main is shut down, just four hours before Antione is killed, and ends nine months later when Latisha gives birth to their newborn son.