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The Baltimore Sun


Maryland's struggle with race: The ugly history of Jim Crow laws has been intertwined with life in Maryland for more than 150 years and C. Fraser Smith, who works as a political analyst for Baltimore's National Public Radio station, WYPR, and contributes a weekly column to the op-ed page of The Sun, has written a new book exploring the history of racially discriminatory laws and the black struggle against them through the lives of an array of Marylanders. In the book, to be published in April, Smith traces the early roots of Jim Crow laws from Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and the parallel early efforts to establish freedom and basic rights for African-Americans:

Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland / by C. Fraser Smith / the Johns Hopkins University Press / 304 pages / $29.95 Readers interested in the history of race in Maryland and in America might also appreciate:

On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting The Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century / by Sherrilyn A. Ifill / Beacon Press / 204 pages / $25.95

Taking the Eastern Shore of Maryland as her starting point, Ifill uses two 1930s lynchings among quaint, close-knit coastal communities to examine the sprawling topic of racial violence in America. Nearly 5,000 black Americans were lynched between 1890 and 1960, and, Ifill argues, the effects of this racial trauma continue to resound.

Murder on Maryland's Eastern Shore: Race, Politics and the Case of Orphan Jones / by Joseph E. Moore / History Press / 256 pages / $24.95

Explores in detail the case of Euel Lee (alias Orphan Jones), who was accused and eventually convicted of murdering a family of four in the 1930s. The action unfolds throughout the Eastern Shore as well as the Baltimore area.

The House I Live In: Race in the American Century / by Robert J. Norrell / Oxford University Press / 400 pages / $19.95

Norrell's book provides a thorough overview of the complexities of America's racial, social and political topography, including new appraisals of such important figures in race relations as Booker T. Washington and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr..


Wednesday, January 23

Bill Strickland -- The president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell, a community arts education and training center, and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, will discuss his new book, Make the Impossible Possible, on the creation of successful collaborative partnerships between the arts and business communities. 7 p.m. / Pratt Central Library / 400 Cathedral Street / Wheeler Auditorium. Saturday, January 26

John Edgar Wideman -- The author of more than 18 works of fiction and nonfiction will discuss his new novel, Fanon, which blends fiction, biography and memoir to evoke the life of the philosopher and political activist Frantz Fanon at the Pratt Library's Booklovers' Breakfast. 8:30 a.m. to noon / Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel / 700 Aliceanna Street / $35 per person / registration: 410-396-5494.

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