African Blood Essays

Down These Mean Streets by Thomas Piri

Years after its original publication, Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets remains as powerful, immediate, and shocking as it was when it first stunned readers. In this classic confessional autobiography, firmly in the tradition of Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Piri Thomas describes the experience of growing up in the barrio of Spanish Harlem, a labyrinth of lawlessness, drugs, gangs, and crime. The teenaged Piri seeks a place for himself in barrio society by…

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