“And in other news, an anti-mutant rally will be held at the White House on Friday courtesy of Sentor Kelly. Kelly is expected to-” Jordan slammed her finger on the power button of the remote, disgusted with the Fox news. She stood up and walked over to window to watch cars pass by and a taxi slip in between crowds of people. New York City was never without sounds nor did it ever have dull moment. Jordan stretched and deciding she didn’t want to hear horns blasting all through the night, turned on the tv again (quickly changed the channel to the local news station) and went to the fridge to grab a water bottle. She twisted off the cap and frowned at the water inside it, thinking back to the rally on Friday. It wasn’t like these were new (she went to one just last week in Central Park) but at the White House of all places? She sighed and downed some water and twisted on the cap, shaking her head. As she opened up the fridge she heard the music change from the channel and heard “Breaking News” and whipped her head around in time to see orange fill apartment.
“Local fire departments have been trying to tame this fire on 28th street for over an hour now but to no avail. Residents in the nearest apartments have been evacuated but it is unclear whether everyone in the current flammed building has gotten out.” Jordan slammed her bottle on the counter and ran to grab a black hoodie before running out of there.
She reached the lobby doors and ran out until she reached the nearest alley. She checked to make sure no one was watching before she opened up a shadow portal and ducked inside it before coming out of another. Immediately she felt heat being absorbed into her hoodie and had to shield her eyes from the intensity of it. Fire licked and lashed at the building, leaving black chars and no doubt falling debris, and had moved on a little bit onto the roofs to the right and left of it. Smoke billowed out everywhere and she faintly heard screaming from inside. Jordan raised a hand and made a bubble of black around her before running inside the building and wincing. Even though she had made a shadow shield, it was still burning hot and she couldn’t see through the dense black around her. Biting her lip, she threw on her hood and released her shield and began coughing as smoke creeped up and around her, burning her throat, and stinging her eyes. She dropped to the ground and squinted to see a staircase 9 feet in front of her. She crawled and managed to touch her hand to it before hearing the scream weave down the staricase. Jordan jumped up and ran up the stairs (luckily they weren’t wood but cement based) and winced as heat reached her feet from inside her boots. She continued up and felt sweat and most likely soot roll down her face and panted as the heat made the climb worse. Pelting up the final flight, she finally reached where she thought the screaming came from.
“H-hello!?” She called put and coughed up worse than before. “Hey over here!! Help us!!” She heard reply back and Jordan stumbled down a hallway to the last door on the left. “In here?” She called out and heard a “help!” answer back. Jordan touched the handle and yelped in pain due to the metal being so heated up that it burned her. Cursing, Jordan slammed her left shoulder into the frame and kept doing it until it splintered and crashed down (giving her some new bruises in the process). She leapt back as a wave of orange tried to touch her and she saw 2 little girls through it. “I’m going to get you out ok! Just stay there!” Quickly creating her bubble once again, Jordan leaped into the flames and into the room. As soon as she lowered it again, the 2 girls latched onto her legs and cried.
“Hey it’s ok, it ok, I’m here to get you out now. Where are your parents?” One of the girls with black braids sniffled and said “daddy went to go get help but he didn’t come back.” Jordan’s heart tugged and she looked around and assumed that when he ran to go get help, the fire really got going, and he couldn’t get back in. “And your mom?” “She- she won’t wake up!” She saw a woman on the other side of the room partially covered in half- charred wood planks and saw a small trickle of blood on her forehead. Carefully plucking the girls off of her, she ran over to the woman, pushed the planks off, knelt down by her and saw the blood coming from a gash on her forehead. She checked for breathing and faintly heard small intakes of air. Jordan ripped off her sweater and wrapped it around the wound before beckoning to the girls near the wall.
“She’s going to be ok but we need to get out of here before the fire gets worse.” Jordan grabbed the woman’s arm and slung her over her left shoulder and winced at the weight and pain that it caused. The girls carefully moved towards her when Jordan heard creaking and groaning from the ceiling.
“WATCH OUT!” She screamed and threw her arm up and created a shadow wall at the last second above the girls. They screamed and ran at Jordan, nearly throwing her off balance, and cried even harder now. Jordan trembled at the weight on her and fear that crashed down within her as she expanded the wall to cover her and the surrounding area around her. It’s not going to last though, she thought, the only way out is through the window. She considered her options and the time she had before the room collapsed. They were going to have to jump but she doubted that they would want to (they were to scared as it already was) and quickly thought of a solution they would agree to. Nodding once, she turned her head down toward the girls.
“I need you to do me a favor ok? We are going to go flying but I need you to hang on tight to my legs and whatever you do, don’t let go.” The girls looked at each other and looked at her even more terrified. “I know your scared, I am to, but I promise you’re safe. I won’t let anything happen to you or your mom. In fact I’ve heard that if you close your eyes, then you won’t be so afraid anymore! Do you want to try that?” She asked gently. The girls slowly nodded and latched onto her legs once again and closed their eyes.
“Ok on the count of 3, I’m going to start flying so keep your eyes closed if you need to. 1, 2, 3!!” Jordan closed the shadow walls to form a bubble around them and hurled it out the window (destroying the wall) and felt weightless all the way down.
She managed to turn onto her side and felt the bubble crash into the ground, rocking them inside it. The impact knocked her own breathe from her lungs as she coughed air while simultaneously trying to get oxygen flowing into her lungs once more. Once she did she released the bubble and saw that they landed down the street, just away from the police and everyone but a few people lingered towards the back of them. She rolled onto her feet and saw the girls lying next to their mother and swayed towards them. Kneeling down, she saw them open their eyes and look at her before seeing their mother and wrapping their arms around her.
“M-mommy!!” One of them cried out. Jordan checked her and saw her breathing still and sagged from relief. It would’ve been horrible to gone throught that and for them to have lost their mother. One of the girls looked up at her and asked “are you a hero?” Jordan smiled and ruffled her braids, “yeah I am but I have to go before people see me. You’re going to be ok and help is here now.” The words left her lips when she heard shouts and people running towards them. Jordan quickly got up and ducked into an alley in time to see a man cry in joy as the girls ran towards them crying “daddy!” She smiled and watched from the shadows as the girls and their mother get the medical attention they needed. The little girl with black braids saw her and smiled and Jordan winked at her before shadow porting back to her apartment.
At the age of sixteen, Robert James (Bobby) Hutton was the first recruit of the Black Panther Party. He participated in the march on the California State Capitol in 1967, and his death in 1968 became a rallying cry for the Black Panther movement. A literacy campaign was later started in his honor.
Bobby Hutton was born on April 21, 1950, in Jefferson County, the son of John D. Hutton and Dolly Mae Mitchner-Hutton. He was among the youngest of several siblings. The family lived in the Pot Liquor area of Jefferson County. In 1953, when he was about three years old, his family moved to Oakland, California, after being visited by nightriders.
In December 1966, Hutton was the first to join the newly formed Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a revolutionary African-American organization that had been organized by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. At sixteen, he was the youngest member. He joined the Black Panther Party because he wanted to make a difference in his community and because he believed in the Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program. On May 2, 1967, he was present when several Black Panther Party members made national headlines by appearing armed at the California State Capitol in Sacramento to protest the Mulford Act, which prohibited the carrying of firearms in any public place. Hutton and several others were later arrested several blocks away at a gas station. On May 22, 1967, he was again arrested for violating an 1887 law against having guns on grounds adjacent to a jail.
On April 6, 1968, Hutton was in a carload of Black Panther Party members who were confronted by Oakland police officers; two officers were shot. Later, at a home at 1218 28th Street, Eldridge Cleaver and Hutton, in an incident connected to the earlier shooting, engaged in a ninety-minute shootout with police officers. It was reported that Hutton was shot more than twelve times after he had already surrendered and stripped down to his underwear to prove he was not armed. However, police reports stated that Hutton was wearing a long overcoat and that his hands could not be seen when he exited the building. The death of Hutton was a major event in the party’s history, angering the Black Panthers and becoming the rallying cry for the movement.
On April 12, 1968, Hutton’s funeral was held at the Ephesian Church of God in Berkeley, California. In 1968, Country Joe and the Fish dedicated the album Together to Hutton. He is also mentioned in the following songs: Tupac Shakur’s “Ghetto Gospel,” (released posthumously in 2004), Smif-N-Wessun’s “Still Fighting,”(2007), and Bhi Bhiman’s “Up in Arms.” (2007). His image appears on the cover of the single “Star” by Primal Scream (1989). The Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther Party later organized the Lil’ Bobby Hutton Literacy Campaign. Every year in April since Hutton’s death, family and friends have held a memorial service at DeFremery Park, which, in 1998, was renamed Bobby Hutton Park by the City of Oakland, California.
Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South) at 28th Street in Manhattan in 1958. The New York Central/New York General Building from a recent post is visible in the distance. Photo from the collection of Al Ponte. Gorgeous lightpost.