Beley, Ennis

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African-American photographer

Beley was born the fourth child of an unmarried drug addict, Patricia Smith, in Los Angeles. From a few days old he was fostered by a 60-year-old single man, Howard Glen, who raised him as his own child, and he had almost no contact with his birth parents. (Glen came into his life initially as his mother's boyfriend, but when her addiction became apparent he made her leave, keeping Ennis with him.)

After the Los Angeles ghetto riots of 1992 the 12-year-old boy was discovered to be a very promising photographer and film maker and he was taken under the wing of a group of influential media people who tried to help him, while he continued to live with Glen. Unfortunately the influence of the ghetto gangs proved too strong, and while he continued to develop artistically, his gang involvement led eventually to his exclusion from schools, and he was gunned down on the street in a drive-by shooting in June 1996, aged just 15.


Heller, Matthew. "The Hope That Failed," Independent on Sunday Magazine [London], 18 August 1996, pp. 4-5, 7-8


20th Century
Art, Architecture, Planning
Anti-social or Disruptive Behavior, Adhd
Birth or Infancy
Parental Illness (Mental or Physical), Addiction
Family Friends or Acquaintances
Single Adopters or Fosterers
Very Poor (Financially) Adoptive or Foster Families
Customary or Traditional Adoption, Informal and Extra-Legal Care
Unmarried Mother
Always in Contact or Knew Identities
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