Philly Stories Interview: Derwin Smith

Recorded April 11, 2017

Languages: N/A
Id: APP311756
Derwin Smith is an African-American man in his 50's born in New York but raised in Philadelphia. He spent most of his life in Southwest and West Philadelphia where he attended Overbrook High School. He grew up in a tough environment around gangs and poverty but he was never involved into that life and managed to stay out of trouble. Unlike most people in his neighborhood, Derwin was interested into different activities such as track. He even earned a scholarship for Allen State University. He attended Allen State University for a few years but, unfortunately,he dropped out due to personal issues. Later on, he decided to attend Community College and finally obtained an associate's degree. Derwin's major highlight of his career was serving the army. He fought wars overseas in places such as Kosovo and Afghanistan. Derwin enjoyed being in the army and he even found it "interesting", however, he lost many friends and family members during the wars. This interview made me appreciate Derwin as a person because he seemed very passionate about the future of young black kids and the black community overall. Even though he witnessed tragedies in his community, he still has hope for a better future. Also, he highly values education which is very important in my eyes.Furthermore, we discussed racism and Derwin seemed traumatized by the prejudice and discrimination he used to endure in High School. According to him, he was bullied by other white kids because of his skin color and he was even sometimes beaten by them. Nonetheless, It did not stop him from being focused on his education. We also had our funny moment when we talked about public transportation in Philadelphia and according to him "SEPTA is one of the worst public transit systems". At the end of our interview, Trump was even brought up in the discussion and Derwin did not seem very pleased with Trump's actions. In his opinion, Trump being in office could have a negative impact on minorities and Philadelphia. Overall, i would say this interview was a good experience. It helped me get to know Derwin more. He is a very knowledgeable person and we have the same perspective on a lot of things. He is a very positive person and wants the best for his community. This interview also made me appreciate older generations more because it made me realize how much they endured throughout their lifetime.