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Harlem is nowhere : a journey to the Mecca of Black America

by Rhodes-Pitts, Sharifa.

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Wilkinsburg Public Library Nonfiction 974.71 RHO
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
 
Collection  Nonfiction
 
Call Number  974.71 RHO
 
 
Summary
For a century Harlem has been celebrated as the capital of black America, a thriving center of cultural achievement and political action. At a crucial moment in Harlem's history, as gentrification encroaches, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts untangles the myth and meaning of Harlem's legacy. Examining the epic Harlem of official history and the personal Harlem that begins at her front door, Rhodes-Pitts introduces us to a wide variety of characters, past and present. At the heart of their stories, and her own, is the hope carried over many generations, hope that Harlem would be the ground from which blacks fully entered America's democracy.

Rhodes-Pitts is a brilliant new voice who, like other significant chroniclers of places -- Joan Didion on California, or Jamaica Kincaid on Antigua -- captures the very essence of her subject.

A finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

"No geographic or racial qualification guarantees a writer her subject . . . Only interest, knowledge, and love will do that -- all of which this book displays in abundance." -- Zadie Smith, Harper's
Contents
A colony of their own
Into the city of refuge
Searching for the underground city
Harlem dream books
Messages
Land is the basis of all independence
Back to Carolina
We march because.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Harlem is firmly enshrined at the very center of African American culture and has been much celebrated and chronicled since the growing numbers of blacks coming to New York were met with housing discrimination that forced them into the neighborhood in the late 1800s. Rhodes-Pitts compares and contrasts her own experience of moving from Texas to Harlem with accounts from literature of the Harlem Renaissance and other cultural glories and news reports of gentrification. She recalls characters from Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and other writers who struggled to find a place for themselves in Harlem even as she listens in on tour-guide lectures and reads contemporary accounts of the changing real-estate and cultural landscape of Harlem that signify a very different future than the one imagined by the fiction writers. Settling into her own place in Harlem, she offers vivid portraits of the residents, who straddle the past and present of the storied neighborhood, many wondering themselves about their futures and the future of Harlem.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Rhodes-Pitts, an essayist and recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, takes as her title a 1948 essay wherein Ralph Ellison describes "nowhere" as the crossroads where personal reality meets the metaphorical meanings attached to people and places. A transplant to Harlem from Texas, Rhodes-Pitts began a personal journey into the iconic neighborhood, poring over Harlem in literature and life, reading its empty lots and street scenes, its billboards and memorials for clues to what it means to inhabit a dream (that fabled sanctuary for Black Americans) and a real place (the all too material neighborhood buckling beneath relentless gentrification). Acutely conscious of the writer's simultaneous role of participant in and recorder of present and past, Rhodes-Pitts weaves a glittering living tapestry of snatches of overheard conversation, sidewalk chalk scribbles, want ads, unspoken social codes, literary analysis, studies of black slang-all if it held together with assurance and erudition. Like Zora Neale Hurston (whose contradictions she nails), she is "tour-guide and interpreter" of a Mecca cherished and feared, a place enduring and threatened that becomes home. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects African Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
African Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social conditions.
African Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Biography.
City and town life -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Community life -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- History.
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- Social conditions.
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- Biography.
New York (N.Y.) -- Social conditions.
New York (N.Y.) -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Back Bay Books/Little, Brown,2013
Edition 1st Back Bay pbk. ed.
Language English
Description 296, 9 pages : illustrations, map, photographs ; 21 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 269-286) and index.
ISBN 9780316017244 (pbk.)
0316017248 (pbk.)
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