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Alexus Purtty

Alexus Purtty

Alexus Purtty was a thirteen year old girl living with her mother in the north side of Saint Louis.  On July 5th, she was stabbed with a steak knife by a twelve year old boy who lived with his sixty-one year old wheelchair bound father, who is sick from leukemia, just a few houses away from Alexus and her extended family.

According to the story in the local newspaper, Alexus Purtty’s mother invited the little boy that killed her daughter to attend a birthday party for one of her children.  She was aware of the boy’s bleak situation and wanted to make a difference in his life.  When the boy came into the Purtty home and saw all the things they owned, he probably was overcome with envy and made plans to get what he wanted the best way he knew how.  Days before Alexus’ murder, the Purtty home was broken into.  The night of the murder the boy was walking up and down the street taunting the Purtty family.  The Purttys made a couple of phone calls to the police regarding the boy’s behavior.  Alexus confronted him.  There was an argument.  The boy went home, got the steak knife, and returned to stab Alexus in the chest.  The boy is now in custody facing second degree murder charges and the potential of becoming the youngest person in the Saint Louis area to be charged as an adult.  A lot of people would be happy to simply lock the boy away and look for someone else to prosecute.  But the boy is indicative of a deeper problem within the black community that a lot of people are too closed minded to examine.

The black on black crime story of a twelve year old boy stabbing to death a thirteen year old girl has become fodder for the local news agencies and garnered the attention of local political offices.  The entire ordeal is just one more statistic for people to push proving the criminality of the black neighborhood.  Politicians appeared at a vigil held in a vacant lot on the same city block that the murder took place.  There were speeches made.  The article was accompanied by a photo of a couple of Alexus’ cousins who lived out in the suburbs that surround the city.  People were waving photos of Alexus in the air.  Everybody was sympathetic and deplored the loss of two black children, one to the grave and the other lost to a judicial system that will continue his development into an even more hardened criminal.

During the vigil for Alexus, State Representative Rodney Hubbard made his speech urging residents to recover control of their neighborhoods.  “Sure, we can point the finger and we can blame the police department, and we can blame the Mayor’s office, and we can blame the elected officials.  But we need to take back control of our own community.”

But Alexus Purtty was just the latest of three murders that happened on this single Saint Louis street block.  On June 10th, just a few houses further down the block, fifteen year old Shanneka Spraggins was shot while she was sitting on the front porch of her cousin’s house talking with a boy.  No arrest has been made in her murder.  On May 19th, forty-four year old Von T. Harrell was shot as he stood on the corner at the end of the block.  He had been arguing with another man about a debt.  Both men lived in the area.  One is dead and one is going to prison.

At the end of the event, the politicians got in their cars and left the area leaving the people behind to deal with the conditions of the neighborhood on their own.  Even the family members from the suburbs will leave their family members staying in the Purtty house alone in their neighborhood.  The reporters will move on to their next story.  You and I will find something else that will gain our attention.  Just like Ms. Spraggins and Mr. Harrell, Alexus Purtty will be relegated to obscurity as everyone moves on to the next big thing.  And the black community will continue to cope with the ever growing danger of the situation.

The article went on to talk about other people in the neighborhood and how their children are spending the summer in areas away from home.  Children are going to spend their summers with family out in the suburbs.  One woman, who worked at an office that loans people money by the week and charges exorbitant fees for their services, pays to keep her eleven year old son in daycare while she works.  She sent her twelve year old daughter to live with family six blocks away.  And her fourteen year old son was sent to live with relatives on the south side.  The woman went on record to say, “It’s the only way you can do it, to keep your children safe.”

These people and many others who just like them are simply trying to eek out their existence in the black community.  They dream of moving to the suburbs along with the rest of their family members.  Black people will make the financial investment necessary to abandon their home and move elsewhere so that they can feel safer and get a better public education.

But chances are very good that eventually the new black neighborhoods out in the suburbs will meet the same fate as the old black neighborhoods in the city.  The pressures that black people face in the city are the very same pressures we will face in the suburbs.  The only difference is that living in the suburbs is more likely to cost financially more.  A new home in a new neighborhood with new neighbors may feel like a fresh start.  But as black people encroach on white neighborhoods, white people will move even further away and the neighborhood morphs into a semblance of its inner city counterpart.

A lot of people failed Alexus.  Not only did the city officials, the police departments and the uncaring State Reps who saw an opportunity to score a few points and get some neighborhood exposure, but her family failed her as well.  Her mother was standing right there as Alexus challenged the boy and did not intervene.  Her cousins lived a world away in the suburbs oblivious to what the Purttys go through living in the city.  Her neighbors who saw the boy walking through the street without parental guidance but looked the other way failed both children.  I failed them.  The entire black community failed them.

In order to be a community more people need to learn to live as a community.  It takes a village to raise a child.  More people have to make the choice to live as a village.  Unfortunately, the things that make a community aren’t part of the American way.  Too much of our society is based on individualism and the “get all you can before somebody else comes along and takes what should have been yours” philosophy.

Families are becoming communities in themselves these days.  An entire family can develop the will to take back a city block house by house.  While the attraction for a new house in the suburbs can be a strong one, it can be even more attractive to rebuild a community and take back that which many people give up as lost.  Successful adaptation to the conditions that have been inflicted upon the black community will be its own reward, both financial and social.  The steady social programming that African Americans have been given to abandon our history, our pride, our homes, our spirituality, and our neighborhoods is designed to keep black people in a perpetual state of chaos and disarray.  Before the black community can be restored the social programming must be acknowledged.  Once we are aware then we can learn to resist.  Once we learn to resist, eventually it will be stopped.  To do anything without breaking the programming will only leave us to repeat the process in a cycle that hasn’t stopped for more than four hundred years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Black Women, Justice, Racism


  1. I can admit that I was once one of those people got away from the city to live in the exurbs- heck I was even too good for the suburbs. I enrolled my daughter in a 95% white school and thought I was doing a good job. Nevermind that I was renting a home in this exurb paying someone else’s mortgage. I thought I had it made. However, each day as I came to pick my daughter up from school I realized that I didn’t “belong”. I am sure you know what I am talking about. Heck, even the few Blacks that lived in that area looked at me w/ a turned up nose.

    Exactly one year ago this week I bought my first home, and guess what, it’s in the city. I also enrolled my daughter in a 95% Black parochial school. I REALLY like my neighborhood and her school. So far it has been the best decision I have made. Needless to say my step-mother nearly FLIPPED HER WIG when I told her. She is white and we had a pretty heated conversation that night. I needed to be around our people again- I was gone for 4 years. I needed to see a Black hair salon again and so many other things I missed being in the exurbs. Moving back is/was a catalyst for me to start helping our people in some way that I can. Interstingly, out local newspaper did a whole story last year about Blacks moving out to this particular exurb, starting churches, buying high-azz houses and such whilst the white folks gentrify the areas we have moved out. But you know one thing- they ain’t getting MY house.

    Comment by PBlanton | Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Reply

  2. So the prodigal daughter returns! I have been in a similar situation. When I bought my first home it was a condo so far out in the sno-burbs I rarely saw other black people including my family. But I like to consider the whole experience as an education that I needed. Never will I do that again. I am fully committed to living in the city in my neighborhood where I belong. Too many of us think we need to leave as soon as we can. But not enough of us learn we need to return as soon as we can as well.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Reply

  3. I missed that gurl she like my twin we look alike!!
    it’s so sad my Lexie had to die!!
    I will alwaz member you

    Comment by Zhay | Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Reply

  4. I luv you Lexie
    and It’s just so sad to see someone that was as special as her leave this world

    Comment by Zhay | Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Reply

  5. I am truly sorry for your lost.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Reply


    Comment by ARRIONNA AND BRIONA | Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Reply


    Comment by Darian Boyd | Friday, December 7, 2007 | Reply

  8. Lexii we’ll always miss u and remember u as that girl wit the pretty smile and your kindness and i just can’t believe it was u, and we’ll always remember u love u. R.I.P

    Comment by Jasmine | Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Reply

  9. i really luv lexy and i wanted to get to know her so so so so bad but i never did and iam really sorry about that incident but remember she will always be in your heart. forever no matter what R.I.P SEXY LEXY TO THE END.

    Comment by kenae | Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Reply

  10. i love you lexy pooh u waz alwayz my best cousin!

    Comment by miesha allen | Monday, March 24, 2008 | Reply

  11. this is william holloway alexus knew me as hayman me and alexus was like cousins because bria purtty was her sister and bria was my blood cousin i was really hurt when bria called and said alexus was killed so i knew peewee was hurt to so im really sorry about alexus

    Comment by william holloway | Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | Reply

  12. i put every thing in my hurt to protect bria and i know it wrong but i would to tryed to kill that lil boy that hurt my cousin and im gone do my best to protect bria and R.I.P SEXY LEXIE

    Comment by william holloway | Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | Reply

  13. i mma miss u lexy, but u kno imma have to get ova the fact that u died, because all it’s gonna do iz just make me cry, and wanna say “i wish i waz there to help her gettem” Luv Ya R.I.P save me a space……………….

    Comment by Jasmine | Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Reply

  14. sorry that se die her and her cuzzin was my best friend

    Comment by kyra | Tuesday, September 23, 2008 | Reply

  15. I am really sorry for the terrible lost, i didn;t know hwe but we had the same first name and it was spelled the same way and the day she died was the day of my sister tamera birthady she is now 29 years old i am really terrible for the sad lost she really sounded like a really cool person to hang out with, i wish i could of knowed her sorry for the lost!!!!!!!


    Comment by Alexus conway | Monday, October 27, 2008 | Reply

  16. man datz crazy how that went down lexi neva desverd that she was so nice and full of life she loved everybody she was that perfect girl i love u lexi u n a better place now rip save me a spot lexi u neva forgotton we all love you i promise imma try not to cry ……..agian nd smile for the good times we all had with you see u at the crossroads

    Comment by bri | Friday, December 12, 2008 | Reply

  17. we love you and miss u dearly you are not forgotten and never be forgotten we will always love u and always be my idol love you

    Comment by india | Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | Reply


    Comment by VIKKI | Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Reply

  19. I am so sorry.I know how her mother fills because My cause got stabbed 2 > and i went throw the same thing i was sad 4 9 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! R.I.P Alexus Purtty!!!!!

    Comment by Jasmine | Thursday, April 9, 2009 | Reply

  20. R.I.P. u Lexi….i didnt kno u…but i knew of u….gone but neva 4gotten…we all luv ya…

    Comment by demetrius robinson | Monday, April 27, 2009 | Reply

  21. sorry but now u r n a betta place i lost mii daddy afta christmad and b4 new years eve i feel yall’s pain but i am going to be praying for yall. Yall might not know me but still I will set my prayer’s towards yall guys.

    Have a blessed day and sorry bout the lose.

    Comment by LaQuala Hamilton | Sunday, May 3, 2009 | Reply

  22. you were a pretty girl that some boy just had to kill so he hopefully getting his share. rip alexus ( im miesha’s firend)

    Comment by amy wilson | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Reply

  23. I fell so sorry my cuzzin told me about you u seen to be a very good person but the boy had no reason to kill her if u still out there u should be sorry for ur self

    Comment by Jasmine | Monday, June 29, 2009 | Reply

  24. R.I.P lexi poo

    Comment by Jasmine | Monday, June 29, 2009 | Reply

  25. man dats all bad i didnt kno yew but frm readin des messages yew sound lyke a cool person i kno how your family is feelin i just lost mah big brutha tha daii after tha may day parade so…………dat luh boy will get wats cummin tew him cuz carma cums bacc 10 fold R.I.P. Alexus Purtty sorry i didnt get da chance tew meet yew

    Comment by AerRhon | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  26. im sorry 4 da lost alexus was a very pretty girl and she seem so sweet i wanted to cry wen i heard about dis dats so sad and as 4 da mom it will be alright just hold in ther! luv ya lexi pooh

    Comment by reeshapooh | Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Reply

  27. mi prayers n thoughts are wi de fam.i was posting a new page on n came across her page,by faith,chance or sumting read so many messages friends n family left about de sad story dat happen to dis young much was in store for i went on to read about de situation n how it came stay strong for each other an may de world come to know lil alexus pretty.u are an always will be a shining star.bless.tuskani

    Comment by tuskani | Monday, September 28, 2009 | Reply

  28. Lexy everybody still misses you and think about you! as you know Michael is up there with you now! and both of yall need to save me a spot and make sure you tell him I LOVE HIM! Love u!

    Comment by maya johnson | Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Reply

  29. i am sorry for the family he should have got killed too for killing u

    Comment by Jasmine | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Reply

  30. lexi was my homie we had known eachother for a very long time. And when i heard about lexi death i was so pist off i cried alot. Lexi still have a place in my heart forever. Me and her friendship will never end because i know she’s watching over me and my heart is still hurting over her today. I wake up and think about lexi most of the time because if i didn’t have anyone else to talk to i had lexi. so r.i.p to my homie lexi friends forever.

    Comment by carvett smith | Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Reply

  31. i love lexi with all my heart the only friend i had. And i think that the boy that killed her should never see daylight again. And to mama purtty i love you and keep your head up and tell frankie em’ i love them to and be strong. And i will continue to pray for ya’ll.

    Comment by carvett smith | Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Reply

  32. Ii feel sooooooooooooo bad about alexus purtty ii have followed her story siince shee died. ii wish tHere was somethiing ii could do to bad iim to young. but what she diid was thee bravest thing. but she made me relizes life to short for all this hatin nd violence R.I.P Alexus Purtty

    Comment by molly sue | Friday, June 4, 2010 | Reply

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