Title Shelter PDF eBook
Author Lawrence Jackson
Publisher Graywolf Press
Pages 322
Release 2022-04-19
Genre Literary Collections
ISBN 1644451735

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*A Kirkus Best Book of 2022* A stirring consideration of homeownership, fatherhood, race, faith, and the history of an American city. In 2016, Lawrence Jackson accepted a new job in Baltimore, searched for schools for his sons, and bought a house. It would all be unremarkable but for the fact that he had grown up in West Baltimore and now found himself teaching at Johns Hopkins, whose vexed relationship to its neighborhood, to the city and its history, provides fodder for this captivating memoir in essays. With sardonic wit, Jackson describes his struggle to make a home in the city that had just been convulsed by the uprising that followed the murder of Freddie Gray. His new neighborhood, Homeland—largely White, built on racial covenants—is not where he is “supposed” to live. But his purchase, and his desire to pass some inheritance on to his children, provides a foundation for him to explore his personal and spiritual history, as well as Baltimore’s untold stories. Each chapter is a new exploration: a trip to the Maryland shore is an occasion to dilate on Frederick Douglass’s complicated legacy; an encounter at a Hopkins shuttle-bus stop becomes a meditation on public transportation and policing; and Jackson’s beleaguered commitment to his church opens a pathway to reimagine an urban community through jazz. Shelter is an extraordinary biography of a city and a celebration of our capacity for domestic thriving. Jackson’s story leans on the essay to contain the raging absurdity of Black American life, establishing him as a maverick, essential writer.


Title Shelter PDF eBook
Author James Reed
Pages 36
Release 2006

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My Father's Name

My Father's Name
Title My Father's Name PDF eBook
Author Lawrence P. Jackson
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Pages 255
Release 2012-05-15
Genre Biography & Autobiography
ISBN 0226389499

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The author, seeking to find his grandfather's old home, follows his family history back to his great great grandfather who was born a slave and died a free man with forty acres.

Blockbusting in Baltimore

Blockbusting in Baltimore
Title Blockbusting in Baltimore PDF eBook
Author W. Edward Orser
Publisher University Press of Kentucky
Pages 358
Release 2021-10-21
Genre Social Science
ISBN 0813184053

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This innovative study of racial upheaval and urban transformation in Baltimore, Maryland investigates the impact of "blockbusting"—a practice in which real estate agents would sell a house on an all-white block to an African American family with the aim of igniting a panic among the other residents. These homeowners would often sell at a loss to move away, and the real estate agents would promote the properties at a drastic markup to African American buyers. In this groundbreaking book, W. Edward Orser examines Edmondson Village, a west Baltimore rowhouse community where an especially acute instance of blockbusting triggered white flight and racial change on a dramatic scale. Between 1955 and 1965, nearly twenty thousand white residents, who saw their secure world changing drastically, were replaced by blacks in search of the American dream. By buying low and selling high, playing on the fears of whites and the needs of African Americans, blockbusters set off a series of events that Orser calls "a collective trauma whose significance for recent American social and cultural history is still insufficiently appreciated and understood." Blockbusting in Baltimore describes a widely experienced but little analyzed phenomenon of recent social history. Orser makes an important contribution to community and urban studies, race relations, and records of the African American experience.

Chester B. Himes: A Biography

Chester B. Himes: A Biography
Title Chester B. Himes: A Biography PDF eBook
Author Lawrence P. Jackson
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Pages 640
Release 2017-07-25
Genre Biography & Autobiography
ISBN 0393634132

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Winner of the 2018 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical Work A Washington Post Notable Book The definitive biography of the groundbreaking African American author who had an extraordinary legacy on black writers globally. Chester B. Himes has been called “one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition” (Henry Louis Gates Jr.), “the best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler” (San Francisco Chronicle), and “a quirky American genius” (Walter Mosely). He was the twentieth century’s most prolific black writer, captured the spirit of his times expertly, and left a distinctive mark on American literature. Yet today he stands largely forgotten. In this definitive biography of Chester B. Himes (1909–1984), Lawrence P. Jackson uses exclusive interviews and unrestricted access to Himes’s full archives to portray a controversial American writer whose novels unflinchingly confront sex, racism, and black identity. Himes brutally rendered racial politics in the best-selling novel If He Hollers Let Him Go, but he became famous for his Harlem detective series, including Cotton Comes to Harlem. A serious literary tastemaker in his day, Himes had friendships—sometimes uneasy—with such luminaries as Ralph Ellison, Carl Van Vechten, and Richard Wright. Jackson’s scholarship and astute commentary illuminates Himes’s improbable life—his middle-class origins, his eight years in prison, his painful odyssey as a black World War II–era artist, and his escape to Europe for success. More than ten years in the writing, Jackson’s biography restores the legacy of a fascinating maverick caught between his aspirations for commercial success and his disturbing, vivid portraits of the United States.

The House Where My Soul Lives

The House Where My Soul Lives
Title The House Where My Soul Lives PDF eBook
Author Maryemma Graham
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 697
Release 2022
Genre African American authors
ISBN 0195341236

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"This first biography of poet and writer Margaret Walker (1915-98) offers a comprehensive close reading of a pillar in American culture for a majority of the 20th century. Without defining herself as a radical or even a feminist, Walker followed the precepts of both. She promoted the idea of the artist of tradition and social change, a public intellectual and an institution builder. Among the first to recognize the impact of black women in literature, Walker became a chief architect of what many have called the new Black South Renaissance. Her art was influenced early by Langston Hughes, her political understanding of the world by Richard Wright. Walker expanded both into a comprehensive view on art and humanism, which became a national platform for the center she founded in Mississippi that now bears her name. The House Where My Soul Lives provides a full account of Walker's life and new interpretations of her writings before and after the publication of her most well-known poem in the 1930s in Chicago. The book rejects the widely held view of Walker as the "angry black woman" and emphasizes what contemporary American culture owes to her decades of foundational work in what we know today as Black Studies, Women's Studies, and the Public Humanities. She was fierce in her claim to be "black, female and free" which gave her the authority to challenge all hierarchies, no matter at what cost. Featuring 80 archival photos and documents and based on never before examined personal papers and interviews with those who knew Walker personally, this book is required reading for all readers of biographies of American writers."

Charm City

Charm City
Title Charm City PDF eBook
Author Madison Smartt Bell
Publisher Crown
Pages 242
Release 2007-11-06
Genre Travel
ISBN 030740742X

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With a writer’s keen eye, a longtime resident’s familiarity, and his own sly wit, acclaimed novelist Madison Smartt Bell leads us on a walk through his adopted hometown of Baltimore, a city where crab cakes, Edgar Allan Poe, hair extensions, and John Waters movies somehow coexist. From its founding before the Revolutionary War to its place in popular culture—thanks to seminal films like Barry Levinson’s Diner, the television show Homicide, and bestselling books by George Pelecanos and Laura Lippman—Baltimore is America, and in Charm City, Bell brings its story to vivid life. First revealing how Baltimore received some of its nicknames—including “Charm City”—Bell sets off from his neighborhood of Cedarcroft and finds his way across the city’s crossroads, joined periodically by a host of fellow Baltimoreans. Exploring Baltimore’s prominent role in history (it was here that Washington planned the battle of Yorktown and Francis Scott Key witnessed the “bombs bursting in air”), Bell takes us to such notable spots as the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill, as well as many of the undiscovered corners that give Baltimore its distinctive character. All the while, Charm City sheds deserved light onto a sometimes overlooked, occasionally eccentric, but always charming place.