The Los Angeles riots brought the frustrations of America's poor to public attention around the world. The media's treatment of the "race riots" shows only one side of African American experience. Ignoring their strength and everyday courage, the media offers only crack-houses, tenements and penitentiaries; gangs, welfare mothers and pimps. This book cuts through the half-truths perpetuated by the media about Black America, revealing the rich, complex communities which are so often the object of sensationalist cliche. Lynell George, celebrated young Los Angeles journalist, uncovers the histories of resilience and strength behind the African American urban communities in Southern Los Angeles. Neither helpless nor without hope, the "ordinary folk" - social workers, writers, lawyers, artists, school teachers, church leaders, grassroots activists - go about their ordinary lives building and bolstering their communities from within. Far from giving up or giving in, they quietly persist, pushing against the confines of an oppressive society. No Crystal Stair is a celebration of tenacity and endurance, presented in vivid and revealing vignettes, that highlight ordinary city life and the extraordinary women and men who steadfastly endure this dance of survival.