1965-1967: The Birth of Cornbread


In 1965, McCray was sent to the Youth Development Center, a juvenile corrections facility, a move that would change his life forever. While in the institution, McCray adopted the name Cornbread and made connections with Philadelphia gang members that would ensure his safe passage through all of the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

Where's the Cornbread?

McCray became Cornbread at the YDC. While there, he wouldn't stop giving the cook, Mr. Swanson, a hard time for only serving white bread. Missing his grandmother's mouthwatering cornbread, McCray would come into the kitchen every afternoon and ask Mr. Swanson, "Where's the cornbread?" Fed up with his nagging, Mr. Swanson gave McCray the nickname "Cornbread." "Whatchya’ doing here, Cornbread?" he would say when McCray came into the cafeteria. McCray liked the nickname. He started writing it all over his books, clothes, in the gym, cafeteria, and throughout the entire juvenile facility. Then he transferred it to the walls. Wherever a gang member would write a gang symbol, McCray would write "Cornbread" underneath it.

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