Birthday Remembrances of 53 Years Ago Today
Gary, Indiana was Michael Jackson’s birthplace 53 years ago today; and Gary, Indiana opened it’s arms wide to greet Michael’s children and mother who traveled there for a three day festival that ended today.
Musical acts, fireworks, and special events centered mainly around the Jackson’s childhood home, and the nearby Leonard Douglas Stadium at Roosevelt High School. The International Afro Centric Circus pitched its tent at Roosevelt Park, near the old home place. Hearsay has it that a cake, imported from Canada, was ceremoniously cut, and shared with the crowd.
The birthday tribute event was sponsored by the City of Gary, LGR Partners, Inc., the Jackson Family Foundation, and the Jackson Development and Marketing Corporation.
Jackson Street was closed to traffic between 23rd and 24th Avenues to allow for numerous vendors, and an entertainment platform dubbed, “The Legend’s Stage.” News reporters and fans thickly roamed the streets at key places on the Jackson family’s old stomping grounds.
Mama/Grandma Katherine reminisced about old times at 2300 Jackson St. “There’s a lot of memories that stand out in my mind from when we were here, like when the boys used to practice all the time… I remember Michael was so happy when he was young, and he used to take all his money and buy candy for all the kids in the neighborhood.”
Blanket, while normally very shy, willingly shared his perspective on the Gary visit, “It’s good to see the place where our dad grew up.”
“I am happy for this type of a thing not only going on here, but going on all over the world,” said Michael’s father, Joe Jackson.
A member of the Jackson family commented that seeing the community, and fans from everywhere honoring Michael, makes them feel wonderful as they vow to keep alive his music and legacy.
When asked how she wants her father to be remembered, Paris remarked with a sweet smile, “As one of the greatest and nicest guys ever.”