Twelve years ago, journalism student Jeffrey McWhorter structured his senior project around a group of boys in East Austin’s Booker T. Washington Terraces. He photographed them, interviewed them and their families, got to know them all. While those relationships began under the auspices of reportage, they lasted as a very real friendship, even after one of the boys perished in a fatal car accident. Now, on the tenth anniversary of Christian Martinez’s tragic death, comes this moving black-and-white photo essay in which McWhorter juxtaposes the past against the present — telling the story of where Christian’s friends and family ended up, how they got there, and where they’re going.
In 2019, when I realized that it had been nearly a decade since the crash, I began reaching out to Christian’s friends and family about the possibility of revisiting their stories. A quick scroll of Facebook told me that several of the original boys of Booker T. now had sons themselves, a few of them around the ages of my kids. I wanted to hear from them. How did they look back on their time in the neighborhood? Did they miss it at all? How did it shape them as men? As fathers? How had losing Christian affected them?