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Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption

Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption cover

Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption

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Street Shadows recounts Jerald Walker’s renunciation of the “thug life” he had embraced as a teenager on the South Side of Chicago in favor of the education and middle-class life his parents had always dreamed of for their children. By turns ironic, humorous, angry, and poignant, Walker’s narrative dramatically captures his pursuit and embodiment of the “American dream”: the effort to rise above obstacles such as racism and poverty through hard work and determination.
Walker explores questions of race and identity through the lens of personal choice—including decisions he made as a high school dropout, a drug and alcohol abuser, a returning student, a young academic, a visitor to Africa in search of his roots, and a husband and father, as well as the diverse choices made by his blind parents, his six siblings, and his wife and her family. He highlights the importance of education, the values of self-help and self-reliance, and his rejection of the victim mentality that many feel pervades black communities.
Winner of the 2011 PEN New England/L. L. Winship Award for Nonfiction, Street Shadows is an eloquent account of how the past shadows but need not determine the present. It is also a stirring portrait of two Americas—one hopeless, the other inspirational—embodied within the same man.

Jerald Walker is an associate professor of creative writing at Emerson College. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including multiple times in Best American Essays.

ISBN: 9780803240957

ISBN-10: 9780803240957

Publisher: Bison Books

Publication Date: 03/01/2012 - 12:00am

On Sale: 03/01/2012 - 12:00am

Pages: 256

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies

Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations