Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas 1974 Edition
A modern classic of manhood, marginalization, survival, and transcendence—and a lyrical memoir of coming of age on the streets of Spanish Harlem.
"A report from the guts and heart of a submerged population group ... It claims our attention and emotional response." —The New York Times Book Review
Thirty years ago Piri Thomas made literary history with this lacerating memoir. Here was the testament of a born outsider: a Puerto Rican in English-speaking America; a dark-skinned morenito in a family that refused to acknowledge its African blood. Here was an unsparing document of Thomas's plunge into the deadly consolations of drugs, street fighting, and armed robbery—a descent that ended when the twenty-two-year-old Piri was sent to prison for shooting a cop.
As he recounts the journey that took him from adolescence in El Barrio to a lock-up in Sing Sing to the freedom that comes of self-acceptance, faith, and inner confidence, Piri Thomas gives us a book that is as exultant as it is harrowing and whose every page bears the irrepressible rhythm of its author's voice.