links for 2010-05-24

  • “All Souls’ Church, on St. Nicholas Avenue, and any number of the traditional neighborhood churches in Harlem that had for generations boasted strong memberships — built on and sustained by familial loyalty and neighborhood ties — are now struggling to hold on to their congregations.

    The gentrification of Harlem has helped deplete their ranks, as younger residents, black and white, have arrived but not taken up places in their pews. Longtime Harlem families, either cashing in on the real estate boom over the past decade or simply opting to head south for their retirement, have left the neighborhood and its churches. Then there are the deaths, as year by year, whole age bands are chipped away.”

  • “The Pulitzer Prize absolutely fundamentally changed my life and career as an artist,” noted Diaz, who says he grew up “working poor” in Parlin, N.J. “I keep thinking, `Wow, I get the chance to do that for a whole bunch of people. Not just me alone, of course.” Pulitzer officials say Diaz will be the first Latino to serve on the board…Co-chairman David Kennedy said the board looks forward to Diaz’s perspective. Kennedy describes Diaz’s prose as a mixture of Dominican Spanish and American English. “We hope that’s the voice he brings to the deliberations of the board as well,” Kennedy said. “Someone who is sensitive to and immersed in parts of our culture that haven’t received the appreciation … they probably deserve.”

    (tags: junotdiaz pulitzerboard literature litofcolor racialiciousmascots)

  • Lt. John Burge and his men electrocuted, suffocated and beat confessions out of black suspects in Chicago for 20 years, until 1993. Some of his victims ended up on death row. Jury selection has begun in his trial.