When Harriet Tubman was born a plantation slave in 1820, her parents hoped she could learn a trade, so she wouldn't have to work in the fields. But because she defended a slave against an overseer, she became a field hand anyway. As she grew strong and learned to survive in the woods and find her way by the North Star, she dreamed of freedom. When she was almost 30, she finally made her escape, but her own freedom wasn't enough.
"An Incredible human being"
As much a historical document as it is a novel, this 1946 winner of the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award is the poignant and unblinkingly honest story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to live and raise her son by herself amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry’s first novel, a beloved best seller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.
Sapphire (Push), Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Harlem Is Nowhere), and actress Sonia Manzano (The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano) discuss the gritty, emotional 1946 classic set in Harlem. Actress Roslyn Ruff (The Piano Lesson; The Help) will read an excerpt.