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Shelter: A Black Tale of Homeland, Baltimore

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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 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.


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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 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.

47 review for Shelter: A Black Tale of Homeland, Baltimore

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Extremely well-written book. Will probably tour the churches, etc and will definitely ride the free JHU shuttle. I’d love to break bread with the Prof.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzy Kopf

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

  5. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Breland

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jakubek

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrew R Malloy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Relena_reads

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Nosowsky

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nekquai

  16. 4 out of 5

    John Dimoia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nick Moran

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Em

  21. 4 out of 5

    Santiago Nocera

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nevona Friedman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  24. 5 out of 5

    RaShauna

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Govert

  26. 4 out of 5

    bookster95

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Berg

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chanecka

  30. 4 out of 5

    BiblioBeruthiel

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jerri

  32. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Phelps

  33. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie Macciocca

  34. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Leann

  36. 4 out of 5

    Laura Finazzo

  37. 5 out of 5

    littlefoot_books

  38. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Arnold

  39. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

  40. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  41. 4 out of 5

    Nicolette Zorn

  42. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  43. 5 out of 5

    Allison Seyler

  44. 4 out of 5

    Chele

  45. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

  46. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  47. 4 out of 5

    Gail

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