San Francisco: The James Gang Rides Again

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American Dream. Most important, the Mission Rebels' education programs are giving kids who have had no pragmatic preparation for life a chance to savor the exploding, surreal, plastic inevitable. The Rebels have found jobs for more than 1,000 youths, sent 120 back to school. One of them, 15-year-old Garcie Geeter, recently began the ninth grade at Pacific Heights' exclusive Urban School on a $1,200 scholarship procured by the Rebels. Required reading for Garcie's social studies course, which deals with "the American Dream," is James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, and Garcie remarked with a grin after one session: "You're lucky I didn't lead a revolution right here."

The reason that rebels like Geeter do not revolt is obvious to the scores of youth counselors who have come from Washington, Sacramento and New Haven to study the Mission scene. What most impresses the experts is the motivation of the new-style James gang: its members call their own shots. As a slogan on the warehouse wall reads: "Please, we would rather do it ourselves. All we ask is the opportunity."

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