Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America

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Little, Brown, Jan 26, 2011 - History - 296 pages
20 Reviews
"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)

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

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.


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Review: Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America

User Review  - Goodreads

Amazing, deeply moving discussion of one of the most important places in the world and what may well be the quintessential American locale. A fascinating look at this rich, complex community. I ... Read full review

Review: Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America

User Review  - Goodreads

Spectacular! This book reads like a wunderkammer of all things Harlem, mixing history and memoir, to show a version of Harlem that is both past and present, everywhere and nowhere. Read full review


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About the author (2011)

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts's articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Boston Globe, Transition, and Times Literary Supplement. She has received a Lannan Foundation fellowship and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007. Rhodes-Pitts was born in Texas and educated at Harvard University.

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