79°

Topics

East Harlem
Piri Thomas dies at 83; Latino writer
Piri Thomas dies at 83; Latino writer

For Piri Thomas, being a dark-hued Latino in 1930s New York was far from the best of worlds. His siblings were fair-skinned, like his Puerto Rican mother, but he took after his black Cuban father, whose unsettled feelings about race scarred both of them. Thomas fell into gangs and drugs, shot a police officer during a robbery and ended up in prison for seven years.He emerged from incarceration a writer, whose journey of self-discovery brought him enduring recognition as the author of a coming-of-age classic, "Down These Mean Streets." The 1967 memoir, often compared to Claude Brown's "Manchild in the Promised Land" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," remains in print and is read widely...

Loading