|Articles, Biography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-01-15 00:49Z by Steven|
Raymond A. Rey
In the summer of 1973, DJ Kool Herc tried something new on the turntables: by extending the beat, breaking and scratching the record, he allowed people to dance longer and entertained them with his rhymes as an MC. After that moment, everything changed. The sound that emerged out of the South Bronx in New York City led to a cultural movement that changed the lives of generations around the world. For Phillip Walker, a mixed race kid from Fresno, California, hip-hop not only served as the soundtrack of his youth, but provided a way to understand his neighborhood and build a multiethnic community.
Phillip Ernest Walker Jr. was born on January 28, 1976 in Fresno, California. He is the son of a Black father from Camden, Tennessee and a Mexican mother from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. While coming from different countries, both families had backgrounds in agriculture and both found their way to the Central San Joaquin Valley and eventually Fresno’s west side. The Walkers from Tennessee migrated to California slowly after uncle James Walker completed his service in the United States Navy. He was stationed for a time at Naval Air Station in Lemoore and upon completing his service in 1967, he convinced his brother Phillip Walker Sr. to join him in the Central Valley. There, the two black men found a lifestyle not too different from what they had experienced in Tennessee: wide open spaces, vast acres of farmland, and a slow pace. The sons of a skilled mechanic, they set down roots in Fresno.
Meanwhile, the Magdalenos crossed a border and multiple state lines before settling in the Valley. Milagros, Phillip’s mother, was the daughter of Gregoria and Genaro Magdaleno. Genaro was also a mechanic and moved his family across the Southwest in search of work on farm labor camps. The tragic loss of Genaro’s beloved wife led the family to the Central Valley. They arrived in Delano, where Genaro’s brother and sister helped raise his children, and then they moved to Fresno. For a time the Magdalenos settled in the “golden west side,” a place that the Walkers from Tennessee already called home…
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