Harlem is Nowhere
In the book “Harlem is nowhere: The Mecca of Black America”, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts has the ability to obtain a split view during her tenure on Lennox Ave. While examining Harlem and all of those who lived there it was impossible for Rhodes to not embody there spirit in the since of their livelihood. Rhodes became indorsed with Harlem’s lifestyle. The magnificent neighborhood that is now a neighborhood hit with gentrification. Rhodes found herself at rallies and getting info from neighbors and people on the block. She became Harlem. With things that she couldn’t get from the streets she would go to the library and go through its archives and records to gain more knowledge on the neighborhood. Rhodes found a way to of mixing her story of Harlem with other people stories of the neighborhood; using other forms of knowledge to fill in the history gap. Rhodes lights a match and then sits back and watch the flame build, while hoping that the information obtained from this is accurate. Mimicking Ralph Ellison Rhodes wrote how Ellison would take the position of a tour guide or interpreter (115). To be invisible and present at the same time is an example of a good writer.
Rhodes not being from Harlem had to really dig deep to find her inner Harlem. She had to become the essence of exactly what she was trying to evaluate. This being her first book did really good at including other earlier African American writers to help aid her in her depiction of this neighborhood. Rhodes is a special kind of new writer only because she actually did her homework for her book. She did not just look up old books and sum up some run off of information that would work only because she herself is black but she went to the city and became what she wanted to examine. This is the essence of a good writer and this made her book more authentic that the average writer.
Rhodes depicts Harlem in a way that shows it deterioration and ugliness, but she also shows the mythical side; the side of Harlem that won’t die. The history, culture and the true symbolic side of Harlem that is being overshadowed by changes in society do not matter. It is ok for Harlem to be nowhere because it will never be forgotten. It is the heart of African American progression and will always be a part of the American experience.