I am Reginald Sinclair Lewis and this piece is called “From The King.”
My now deceased parents Samuel and [inaudible] Louis were decent, hardworking African-Americans during the turbulent sixties and ugly era of racial segregation. They were certain that they achieved a slice of the American Dream when they purchased a beautiful three story rowhouse. We were the first black family to integrate in an all white working class community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During their last tearful visit with me, I learned my parents had received a very- a mortgage loan. My mother told me that the debt collectors were harassing her, traumatizing her, subjecting her and my father to unbearable pressure.
Two weeks later, my mother dropped dead from a massive stroke. She was a devout Christian woman who loved her Bible, an excerpt of verse nine chapter 21 in the book of Matthew goes: “And the multitudes cried, saying Hosanna to the son of David, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” The summer, the bank filed an action of mortgage foreclosure against my deceased parents’ property. In verse 37, “The deed said, this is the error. Lt us seize on his inheritance.” And so I fired back with my own lawsuit, demanding see- demanded to see a copy of the contract. The drafters might as well have been speaking French to a Chinese peasant who only spoke Mandarin. My parents were the least sophisticated debtors who signed under coercion an- an unconscionable contract of adhesion they made them unwilling targets of a scheme to the fraud of home equity. Verse 12: “And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the money changers.”
Every year in Philadelphia, over 20,000 poor African-Americans are ejected from their homes in the name of gentrification or urban renewal. So let us, the multitudes and extorted class of litigants, rise up, rise up against the greedy wicked bankers and unscrupulous predatory lenders.
Thank you. I am Reginald Sinclair Lewis.