The Compton Library

The Compton Library is open from 10am until 8pm Pacific, Monday through Wednesday. It is open 10am until 5pm on Friday and 9am until 5pm on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. It has a meeting room with a maximum capacity of 95 people. It has additional spaces dedicated to children and teens, a study room, and a book drop. It carries the Los Angeles Times, the Long Beach Press Telegram, the LA Watts Times, the Los Angeles Sentinel, and the Los Angeles Wave newspapers. The Compton Library houses the Los Angeles County Law Library resources including access to the Westlaw, Lexis, and CEB OnLaw databases. 

The Compton Library is 20,542 square feet. It is located at 240 W. Compton Boulevard in Compton, California.

As Richard Williams tells it, he got the idea of introducing his daughters to tennis from reading the results of a professional tennis tournament and seeing how much an early round loser earned. He thought it was pretty good cash for someone who wasn’t in contention to win the event. He also saw it as a potentially lucrative vocation for his two youngest if only he could get them on the professional tour.

He set off to the Compton Library to find books on tennis – books that would teach him how to begin coaching and training his children to play tennis. 

One-hundred million dollars in prize money, three dozen or so major championships, and a few Olympic gold medals later the story continues through Venus Williams’ career as one of the best grass court players ever and through Serena’s run to the title as the greatest sports champion America has ever produced. 

I can see the thought bubble above your head filling with question marks and exclamation points so I’ll sidebar for rebuttals:

  1. Yes, Compton does have a library. Here is the link. 
  2. I’ll consider your disagreement  about Serena’s place in America’s sports Pantheon as soon as you find me the American who dominated an international sport for three decades winning 20+ championships, Olympic gold medals, and team titles for the U.S.; who returned to #1 in his/her sport after major injury/medical conditions on two different occasions, who returned to #1 after the shocking murder of a sibling and after giving birth, who began the sport with their father as their coach on a public court in a poor city with hand me down equipment. Show me who matches or exceeds that. Serena is hard to take at times and she makes controversial statements but about her (and Venus to a lesser degree) I become Mark Ingram to Lamar Jackson – COME SEE ME!

Okay. The essay. Yes, let’s resume. 

It’s important to point out the capacity of black people because, sadly,  it’s always necessary to point out the capacity of black people. There is always a “Negro Question” or “Race Problem”  to solve with American blacks. It’s annoying living as the locus of a problem or question or controversy. Annoying for me — for my forefathers “dangerous” is the better word.

In one era blacks are subjected to the findings of race “science” which suggests the answer to the question, “What can blacks do for you (or society)?”, is “Not much and certainly much less than what whites can do.” The problem with blacks is heritable so it is immutable. 

In a different era blacks are subject to a cultural anthropology which suggests the answer to that same question is “Only what they learn from enlightened liberal policies”. The problem with blacks is environmental so it lies outside the ordinary facility of ordinary blacks to transmute. 

In either era, the possibility of black agency is never a factor or a variable to consider. One of the reasons Black Power and Black Pride had to be asserted at the close of the Civil Rights Movement is that neither attribute was ever assumed to exist. It gnawed (gnaws) at the black psyche to consider how much credit for our progress is given to the benevolence and atoning sacrifice of white Americans. 

We’re now in an era measured in light speed so the views of the race scientist and the cultural anthropologist have fused and come at us at the same time: Blacks have terrible social environments because they have such low IQs. Voila! A unified theory of racial condescension. It’s a useful corollary because of its bi-partisan appeal. It opens the door to many, many allegedly wise and magnanimous public polices that will fix black Americans once and for all. 

Except — what if we don’t think we need to be fixed? What if we think we’re doing fine on our own? What if we don’t want to be subjects of analytical inspection at a molecular level, homogenized, and socially indexed to white America? What if we want to remain the outsider or the misfit? What if, like Richard Williams, we figure we can just stroll to the local library and build our own future? A future of glory and victory no one could imagine until it happened. 

Sure, there is a lot we don’t know but we know ourselves better than the menacing polymaths or cloying crusaders ever will. 

Some in the social sciences and government mean us well. My message to you is don’t worry about us. Don’t look at our troubles and think you have to solve for X. Don’t scien-tize us. Don’t foreclose the possibility that we can address our foibles.

Some in the social sciences and internet media mean us harm. My message to you is you’re not fooling anyone with talk of better public policy through race science. We see your Twitter feeds.

Think for a moment, though. If, after all these centuries you weren’t able to beat us playing a rigged game on your home court, then how are you going to beat us now on a neutral court?

All crazy Richard Williams needed to win was a library card.