Synopses & Reviews
Based on a heart-rending and much discussed series in the Washington Post, this is the story of one woman and her family living in the projects in Washington, D.C. A transcendent piece of writing, it won the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.For four years Leon Dash of the Washington Post followed the lives of Rosa Lee Cunningham, her children, and five of her grandchildren, in an effort to understand the persistence of poverty and pathology within Americas black underclass. Rosa Lees life story spans a half century of hardship in the slums and housing projects of Southeast Washington, a stones throw from the marble halls and civic monuments of the worlds most prosperous nation. Yet for all of Americas efforts, Rosa Lee and millions like her remain trapped in a cycle of poverty characterized by illiteracy, teenage pregnancy, drugs, and violent crime.Dash brings us into her life and the lives of her family members offering a human drama that statistics can only refer to. He also shows how some peopleincluding two of Rosa Lees childrenhave made it out of the ghetto, breaking the cycle to lead stable middle-class lives in the mainstream of American society.
About the Author
is the Director of Center for Advanced Study and Swanlund Chair Professor of Journalism, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A former staff reporter for the Washington Post
, he has won numerous awards and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (both for his eight-part Washington Post
series that became the basis of Rosa Lee
) and the George Polk Memorial Award of the Overseas Press Club. He is the author of When Children Want Children
and the founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. He won an Emmy in 1996 for a documentary based on his Rosa Lee series.