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

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr

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Street Shadowsrecounts 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 Shadowsis 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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. vii
Prologue: Godsp. 3
A Place Like Thisp. 7
Schooledp. 18
Seducedp. 21
The Lake of Firep. 30
Strange Fruitp. 33
Disobediencep. 43
Orientationp. 46
Realp. 55
Chameleonsp. 58
Sissiesp. 68
Sacraments of Reconciliationp. 71
Baddest Nigger in Townp. 80
Bobby Jenkinsp. 83
The Souls of White Folkp. 90
Workshoppedp. 93
Bad Outcomesp. 99
We Are Americansp. 102
Floatedp. 114
Simplicityp. 117
The Second Actp. 121
Scattered Inconveniencesp. 123
My Sister's Roommatep. 128
Communionp. 131
Trashp. 139
Technicalitiesp. 142
Break-Inp. 147
The Interviewp. 150
Break-Outp. 157
Baitp. 161
Great Expectationsp. 165
Captain Walkerp. 167
Poopp. 177
A Place of Redemptionp. 181
Gang Lifep. 190
Visible Manp. 193
Nakedp. 197
Gamep. 201
The Professorp. 206
Dragon Slayersp. 208
Bulletsp. 211
The Mechanics of Beingp. 213
When Love Speaksp. 222
Two Boysp. 225
Principles of Mathp. 229
Outlawsp. 231
Epilogue: Clownsp. 237
Acknowledgmentsp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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