In Fort Wayne, there's a large disparity in achievement between black males and their peers: we're taking a look at the numbers and the stories behind them.

Fort Wayne, Ind., is a diverse community. With nearly 25% non-white residents, it’s one of the most diverse cities in Indiana. 
But there is a wide achievement gap between black men and boys in Fort Wayne and other men in the community. From education to incarceration, they’re generally worse off than their peers.
But why? What factors make the difference in the lives of African-American men in Fort Wayne?
Throughout 2014, WBOI hopes to shine a light on the challenges the community faces in closing the achievement gap. And we’ll meet the people dedicating their lives to making a difference.
This project aims to take a broad survey of Fort Wayne’s African-American community as we highlight the personal stories behind the statistics.

You can share your own story with WBOI by clicking on the link above. 
Fort Wayne, Ind., is a diverse community. With nearly 25% non-white residents, it’s one of the most diverse cities in Indiana. 
But there is a wide achievement gap between black men and boys in Fort Wayne and other men in the community. From education to incarceration, they’re generally worse off than their peers.
But why? What factors make the difference in the lives of African-American men in Fort Wayne?
Throughout 2014, WBOI hopes to shine a light on the challenges the community faces in closing the achievement gap. And we’ll meet the people dedicating their lives to making a difference.
This project aims to take a broad survey of Fort Wayne’s African-American community as we highlight the personal stories behind the statistics.

You can share your own story with WBOI by clicking on the link above. 

Fort Wayne, Ind., is a diverse community. With nearly 25% non-white residents, it’s one of the most diverse cities in Indiana. 

But there is a wide achievement gap between black men and boys in Fort Wayne and other men in the community. From education to incarceration, they’re generally worse off than their peers.

But why? What factors make the difference in the lives of African-American men in Fort Wayne?

Throughout 2014, WBOI hopes to shine a light on the challenges the community faces in closing the achievement gap. And we’ll meet the people dedicating their lives to making a difference.

This project aims to take a broad survey of Fort Wayne’s African-American community as we highlight the personal stories behind the statistics.

You can share your own story with WBOI by clicking on the link above. 

WBOI is exploring one corner of the educational experience: the idea that race can work against young men of color.

Ron Lewis is the program director of Trio Services at University of St. Francis. The federal program provides services for a range of students, including first-generation college attendees.

Recently, WBOI’s Virginia Alvino talked with Lewis about racial bias in the K-12 experience.

James Redmond, 79

“[The churches] have the rapport and they have access to the mayor’s office, more so than the average person. They’ll listen to the ministers.”

Jerom Reed, 49

“18-25 year olds, they’re not at peace with themselves”

Diane Rogers, Liaison Fort Wayne Police Department, says the city’s young black men are plagued by lack of hope and opportunity.


From education to income, there’s a significant gap between black men and their peers in Fort Wayne- last year, the City was awarded a technical grant from the National League of Cities to address the disparity.

As a part of the initiative, the NLC held a conference in Oakland last month for the participating cities to learn about strategies for improving black male achievement.

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock attended the conference. He recently joined WBOI’s Virginia Alvino in the Madge Rothschild Studios to talk about what he learned, and what the next steps for the City are.

Fort Wayne Rescue Mission CEO Donovan Coley never thought of himself as black until he moved to the U.S. from Jamaica.

According to Coley, being black in America isn’t just about skin tone. For many, it’s a role to play in society – a role Coley says he was taught and expected to learn.

For him, it’s a story of wrestling with a dual identity. It’s a perspective he says allowed him to better understand how white and black people interact and the unwritten rules of those interactions.

Here’s Coley on how he learned to be a black man in America.

Marcus Wilkes, 42

“Sometimes life turns, and you go the wrong way sometimes, people don’t come back from that, and some do. Thank God that I have.”

“I’m out, and I’m free.”

Jerquial Williams, 18, Senior at South Side High School
"I chose to do what’s right and not what’s wrong."
"Did someone tell you to do what’s right?"
"My mama. I don’t know where my dad is at."
Jerquial Williams, 18, Senior at South Side High School
"I chose to do what’s right and not what’s wrong."
"Did someone tell you to do what’s right?"
"My mama. I don’t know where my dad is at."

Jerquial Williams, 18, Senior at South Side High School

"I chose to do what’s right and not what’s wrong."

"Did someone tell you to do what’s right?"

"My mama. I don’t know where my dad is at."

Chaminda Gardner, 20

“We all need to come together and help each other become better people.”