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Crossing Fences

A community program based on a simple, age-old process ‒ people learning from one another through the oral tradition. There are stories, insights, perspectives and facts within all of us. And, all too often, we take little time to share them.


Over the past two years, SLB convened groups of African American male students in Homewood, Hazelwood and the Hill District (Summer 2012) and McKeesport, Northside and Hilltop (Summer 2013). While learning about digital audio recording, each group also spent time discussing attributes of male role models and identifying African American men with a connection to their community that could be interviewed. With support as needed, students then arranged, conducted and edited these interviews. The results were published in Homewood Voices, Hazelwood Voices, Hill District Voices, McKeesport Voices, Northside Voices and Hilltop Voices, each a full-color book (with CD) with 1,000 copies distributed throughout the community. Community celebrations were held in each community as well as at the August Wilson Center which time StoryBox units were presented and installed to allow the general public to hear interviews and student reflections.

Select one of the locations below to see photos and listen to audio clips


IMG_0116 - mr brown kids




McKeesport Crossing Fences





Charles Grayson (6)






Hill District





Crossing Fences is made possible by the African American Men and Boys Initiative of The Heinz Endowments


with major support from Hive Pittsburgh, PNC Bank, Private Wealth Advisors and UPMC Health Plan as well as The Duckworth Group at Merrill Lynch, Manchester Academic Charter School, Manchester Youth Development Center, Mayor’s Office of the City of McKeesport,  New Pittsburgh Courier and Rothschild Doyno Collaborative.



The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the individual represented and do not necessarily reflect those of The Heinz Endowments or any collaborating organization.

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