You Should Know: Elwin Green

The former newspaper reporter brings his journalistic skills home to celebrate the legacy and encourage the transformation of Homewood.




photo by Renee Rosensteel
 

 

Elwin Green moved in the 1980s to Homewood — the only neighborhood he says he could afford as he finished his degree in English Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. He stayed after meeting his wife, the former Janet Jackson, who was a native of the community. The couple now lives in her childhood home.

“My favorite definition of a Pittsburgher is somebody who grows up, gets married and moves across the street,” he says.

During the last 30 years, his affection for the area known at times as a troubled neighborhood has grown.

In 2011, Green, now 62, left his job as a business reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to devote more time to his independent media-production company, Luminaria Productions, LLC. Part of his motivation was to see what would happen if he were to focus his journalistic skills on one neighborhood.

He runs a community news service and blog under the name “Homewood Nation,” “to elevate the conversation” in and about Homewood. He also participates in numerous community revitalization efforts. He’s formed the Homewood Capital Partners LLC, which aims to help Homewood residents invest in local real estate. He’s also the chairman of the Save Race Street committee, formed after a double homicide there in 2008. The committee’s purpose is to implement a community plan to improve infrastructure, increase property values and encourage beautification, among other initiatives.

Ultimately, Green wants people to know more about Homewood than the perception often reflected in news accounts involving crime. It’s the location of the Afro-American Music Institute. The neighborhood that produced “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua; the first black supermodel, Naomi Sims; jazz composer Billy Strayhorn; and cartoon producer Lou Scheimer, among others.

“When Homewood learns to celebrate its legacy, the world will come to the party,” Green says.

How have you balanced writing about a community you’re very active in — almost covering yourself — when journalists traditionally aim to remain impartial? 
I’m going to make a distinction between the mainstream media and the black press. As far as I can tell, the mainstream media has historically sought to adhere to a set of values or standards that include accuracy, fairness [and] objectivity. The black press, while sharing the concerns for accuracy and fairness, has been less concerned historically with objectivity and more with advocacy. I can’t be totally objective about things happening in Homewood and things that affect Homewood.

What perceptions would you like to see changed? 
What’s coming to mind is not just perceptions about Homewood but an assumption about the nature of reality: That what I see on TV or in the paper is all there is . . . There is more to Homewood . . . Statistically, we have a higher percentage of crime than other neighborhoods, but that still does not mean crime is happening throughout the entire neighborhood all the time. Second, there is a perception that Homewood is poor. Statistics from the Census Bureau will tell you Homewood is largely a low-income neighborhood, but low-income is not the same as poor.

Does the revitalization of Braddock give you hope for Homewood? 
I’ve always had hope. To me, the statements “the sun is coming up tomorrow” and “Homewood will turn around” are equally certain. I’d say . . . maybe some of us in Homewood should learn from what’s been done in Braddock.

What do you like about Homewood? 
One of the things I like best about Homewood is the quality housing stock built to last forever. The second easy answer is the people . . . People who are . . . just doing their best to live life as it ought to be lived . . . I’m not saying everyone should live in Homewood, but I wish everyone could feel the way I feel about Homewood.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Welcome New Year With New Things At Pittsburgh's First Night

Welcome New Year With New Things At Pittsburgh's First Night

The annual New Year’s Eve event features food, fireworks, music and more.
Antonio Brown Makes Catch on the Field but Loses the Pizza

Antonio Brown Makes Catch on the Field but Loses the Pizza

The Steelers wide receiver stars in a new commercial where he first loses out to a Patriots' cornerback, but gets his revenge when it counts the most.
Never Wait in a Long Line For a Drink in a Crowded Bar Again

Never Wait in a Long Line For a Drink in a Crowded Bar Again

A new app developed in Pittsburgh, is designed to get more customers served more quickly when the bartender is swamped.
Sweet Surprise: Kelly Frey Awarded for ‘Sharing Her Heart‘

Sweet Surprise: Kelly Frey Awarded for ‘Sharing Her Heart‘

The mother of a child with special needs, Frey tirelessly shares what she has learned with other families in similar situations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Omar Abuhejleh taps deep into his roots at his vegan cafe that's focused on Levantine cuisine.
Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and I still stare in bewilderment at people who tell me they’ve moved to a place because “You can’t beat the weather.”
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Welcome New Year With New Things At Pittsburgh's First Night

Welcome New Year With New Things At Pittsburgh's First Night

The annual New Year’s Eve event features food, fireworks, music and more.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miracle on Liberty Pops Up in Pittsburgh

Miracle on Liberty Pops Up in Pittsburgh

The holiday themed cocktail bar is one of around 20 international Miracle popups.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

We’ve compiled the best pumpkin patches for fall family fun.

Comments


Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

The park's winter celebration is great for families and a fine choice for anyone who loves Christmas (and/or funnel cake).

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pittsburgh The Heart of the NFL? Yinz Got that Right

Pittsburgh The Heart of the NFL? Yinz Got that Right

At the NFL Scouting Combine, at the NFL Draft and wherever NFL games are played, there’s often something of a Western Pennsylvania reunion taking place.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Locket Full of Joy

Locket Full of Joy

The handcrafted piece opens to hidden treasures.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

PM film critic Sean Collier picks ten forthcoming flicks likely to rake in nominations for the 89th Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Real-Pittsburgh Weddings: It was Not Love at First Sight

Real-Pittsburgh Weddings: It was Not Love at First Sight

These romances were years in the making.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

The Carnegie Museum of Art is full of Christmas cheer — and great deals. Plus, get the scoop on The Block Northway’s latest retail offering.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuba and Euphonium Players Invited to Join in Christmas Concert

Tuba and Euphonium Players Invited to Join in Christmas Concert

Waynesburg University will present a TUBACHRISTMAS concert on Dec. 9.

Comments