Benedict Option, Part Three: It Takes a Hyattsvillage

One of the neat things about Libresco's "Benedict Option" gathering (for what this actually was, see here and here) was that we had a few people from the growing Catholic neighborhood in Hyattsville, MD. This is a little place on the Green Line (yay), an attempt to build a community where Catholic life is visible, normal, and beautiful. You can get a taste of it from a profile at Fare Forward which included this description: The community’s power for such corporal works of mercy became t … [Read more...]

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Standing in Front of Your Own House (While Black): Washington City Paper Investigates “Incommoding” Arrests

The chitlins were making Alex Dennis sick. Dennis, a 20-year-old with dreadlocks that graze his shoulders, found himself getting nauseous in his apartment while his uncle and aunt cooked soul food for Thanksgiving.Dennis walked outside to get some air, but ended up right in the grasp of the Metropolitan Police Department.Stepping outside an apartment for fresh air doesn’t draw police attention in, say, Georgetown. But Dennis doesn’t live there. Instead, he lives on Buena Vista Terrace SE, … [Read more...]

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“These Cops Are Tired of White People Getting Freaked Out By Their Black Neighbors”

Washington Post again... The stories pile on. A white security officer tells of the year he and his black wife lived in an apartment complex. "She got cops called a total of 9 times in the year we lived there I got zero," he says. A retired cop recalls the time a "lady called scared to death because some black guy was sitting in his truck across from her house" -- it was the water meter reader. more … [Read more...]

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Neighbors and Strangers: Edward P. Jones’s Tales of Black Catholic D.C.

The title of All Aunt Hagar's Children gives you an idea of one of the strengths of this short-story collection: Edward P. Jones has woven a tapestry portrait of a community. Or, to switch metaphors, he has laid a table where everyone in the family can come, get their due, and have their say.The stories aren't linked by anything other than their setting: black D.C., mostly black Catholic D.C., from the late 19th century to the latter half of the 20th. These people are farmers and porters … [Read more...]

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From Edward P. Jones, “Root Worker”

Long before they reached 1st St., N.E., Glynnis found that so much had changed, disappeared, but everything that was important to white people remained. (from the collection All Aunt Hagar's Children) … [Read more...]

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“Choose to Stay” (Or, Virtute the Cat Contemplates Her City)

One reason I love the Weakerthans is that their songs are set in their hometown. The louder you yell “I Hate Winnipeg” the more I know which city holds your heart. So let's listen to "Reunion Tour" and get emotional. Welcome to Washington, DC! The local time is 1987. Like every other week I meet somebody who says, “Oh, wow, I've never met anybody from DC before.” Guess these people's race! I meet people from DC all the time; you can probably guess their race, too. (I think I've been a gentrif … [Read more...]

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“In Search of Lost Time”: I review an art show

at the Hirshhorn: I got the idea for how to start this review when I was supposed to be praying.I try to “do” ten minutes a day of contemplative prayer, kneeling and opening my mind and heart to whatever God wants to say to me: shedding my own opinions and judgments, turning away from all screens and distractions. It turns out to be a great way to get ideas for my writing. Not such a great way to surrender to silence and inner peace. The distractions are coming from inside the hou … [Read more...]

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