"Can life still be a dream in America?" - The Chicago Tribune

Despite all the debate in recent years on the value of a college education, it's no argument for Jeff Stephens. Academic credentials were his ticket from a public housing project to a downtown law firm.

His primary motivator? "Fear," he said.

Stephens had a good chance of rising above his parents, who he said "screwed up." He was raised by his grandmother, living for a time in the Ida B. Wells Homes on the South Side. In his early teens, he had an epiphany. "I realized that she wasn't going to be around forever … and nobody above me had any money."

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