The Story of My Life

By Raymond Jacobs

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana February 3rd, 1947. I had 2 siblings. For people that haven’t read my first two articles, this is the last time I’m going to write about this. I’m writing this because a lot of people ask me questions about my life and my past.

My life was perfect as a child. When I turned 16 years old I rode with a group. They called us the Freedom Riders. We were trying to get the Right to Vote Act out. I left the Freedom Riders when three young men went missing and were later found dead in Mississippi. So President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in honor of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. They were the young men who were found dead in Mississippi.

So at age 17 when everything was said and done, I joined the United States Marine Corps. I was sent to a country called Vietnam where I had to fight in a war. I came back in 1966 with a bullet in me. I was spit on, had feces and urine thrown on me, and had eggs thrown at me. Anything a person could pick up they threw. As all of us soldiers stood on the street corner being harassed, I told the people to not condemn the troops, condemn the proper government who sent us there. It was not the troops’ fault that we were at war, we were just sent there. It was the government who decided they wanted us to protect America.

 I ended up doing 26 years in prison between two states, Louisiana and Ohio. In a place called Angola I did 16 years and in Ohio I did 10 years. They threw me out with $24 in my pocket in 1994.  I have lived in Cleveland since May 13, 1994. I have panhandled and sold the paper, which I’m still doing. I’ve been a free man for over 20 years doing the right thing out here.

I’ve had several people ask me to write about me so here it is. I got a lot of friends in Cleveland, mainly police officers. Every Friday and Saturday I stand at the corner of Market and 25th selling the paper. I’ve built up a pretty good business right there.