Monday, January 10, 2022

Lines and Dots


This Wednesday at the Central Branch of the Howard County Library: you’re invited. From author Lawrence Lanahan:

Fingers crossed some of you will join me Wednesday evening at the Equity Resource Center at @HoCo_Library Columbia branch. I'll revisit episodes from our region's history in THE LINES BETWEEN US and connect the dots between James Rouse and Port Covington.

This in-person event will be held Wednesday, January 12th from 7-8:30 pm in the Equity Resource Center at Central Branch. You can find out more, and register, too, on the Library’s event page.

Join author Lawrence Lanahan at the Central Branch of the Howard County Library System as he discusses The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore's Racial Divide.  

Mark Lange and Nicole Smith have never met, but if they make the moves they are contemplating—Mark, a white suburbanite, to West Baltimore, and Nicole, a black woman from a poor city neighborhood, to a prosperous suburb—it will defy the way the Baltimore region has been programmed for a century. It is one region, but separate worlds. And it was designed to be that way.

… This eye-opening account of how a city creates its black and white places, its rich and poor spaces, reveals that these problems are not intractable; but they are designed to endure until each of us—despite living in separate worlds—understands we have something at stake.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Lanahan turned up on the blog almost exactly one year ago today in a post about housing. 

I shared this photo, taken by Lanahan while reading the morning paper, which highlights the stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots when it comes to where they live.

Photo used with permission 

On the left is a contemporary home whose footprint is enormous. It might as well be the Americanized version of something out of Downton Abbey. On the right is an article about who has prospered during the pandemic. I can’t read every word so I’ll need to paraphrase:

This pandemic has created winners and losers...Higher-income households and households that own their homes or a second one are big winners. Losers are lower-income households who are likely to rent or are struggling as homeowners.

If you haven’t heard Mr. Lanahan speak this would be a great opportunity. It also gives you a chance to investigate the new Equity Resource Center. I know there are people who think, “oh, that equity stuff isn’t my thing.” But perhaps housing or community building is your thing, or recent Maryland history, or fascinating book talks, or libraries. After all, libraries are meant for everyone. You don’t have to be a specialist to be welcome. 

I’d say that the single greatest quality of people you’ll find at the library is curiosity. And you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t a curious person, so, I think you are qualified to learn something new or deepen what knowledge you have already. 

If you can’t make it Wednesday, take a listen to Episode 72 of Elevate Maryland where Lanahan is the featured guest. From Elevate’s Facebook page:

"I wasn't interested in 'beat the odds' stories.  I wanted to write about the odds." - Lawrence Lanahan
This podcast will make you think about where you live, how you live, and the manner in which other people live differently.  In his book The Lines Between Us, Lawrence Lanahan examines the legal boundaries that separate us from one another through the lives of those he profiles.  This story includes Columbia, but, as Lawrence describes, not as the happy landing spot that some may imagine.  

Oh yeah. I forgot the mention that The Lines Between Us has a Columbia connection. Have you read it yet? You may have to wait a bit if you want to borrow it. All twelve copies owned by the library are checked out. Hmm…there’s clearly something fascinating about this book.

I’m curious.

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