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"This is a book about language. It is also a book about identities-race, place, and class-based-in Washington, DC's Anacostia neighborhood, and how those identities are bound together. It is a book about who belongs to a community and how that community lays claim to its space and its very characterization. In The Black Side of the River, sociolinguist Jessi Grieser conducts extensive interviews with Black Anacostia residents to examine what she terms "linguistic practices of place," or how people make sense of and give meaning to their physical space through their language use. In a neighborhood undergoing substantial class gentrification but still decisively Black, Grieser finds that Anacostians use language to assert a positive, hopeful place identity that is inextricably intertwined with their racial identity. The Black Side of the River considers what it means to be not merely from a place but to be a specific person from that place. When Black people use language to reinforce ideologically Black places, it changes our understanding of what it means when those Black places become encroached upon. This book explores those changed understandings and who defines the lines between Blacks and whites, between poverty and prosperity. It is a call to center Black lived experiences in urban research, confront the racial effects of urban change, and preserve the rich culture and community in historic Black neighborhoods"--

The Black Side of the River: Race, Language, and Belonging in Washington, DC

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