The House on Childress Street: A Memoir

Kenji Jasper, Author . Broadway/Harlem Moon $14.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1679-0

Journalist and novelist Jasper (Dark ) shares insightful, though often tedious moral lessons on black manhood. With the recent death of his 83-year-old grandfather, Jesse James Langley Sr., Jasper delves into his forebear's difficult, angry journey in America. Orphaned early in rural Greenville, N.C., Jesse left home, finding work at the Pentagon, where he met and married Sally Helen Smith. They moved to Childress Street, in a Washington, D.C., suburb, and for the next 60 years Jesse proved a steady provider, if embittered by the scarring of racism and an inability to express emotion. His stoic example wasn't duplicated in the next generations, throughout eras transformed by the historic movements of Civil Rights, Black Power and feminism, as well as by drugs decimating black neighborhoods. In erratic chapters, Jasper presents histories of significant family members, including his mother, Angela, an emancipated working woman, divorced over conflicting roles of husband and wife; Uncle Gary and his purposeless life chained to heroin; and success story Latanya Langley, a cousin raised in Norwalk, Conn., so educated and privileged she was considered a "bourgie," or someone who wanted to be white. Jasper asks some tough questions of the black community in his search to understand his own identity. Agent, Gloria Loomis. (Jan. 10)

Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Open Ebook - 129 pages - 978-0-307-41942-2
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