The rich and varied details of the thousands of people who made the South End what it is today can't possibly fit in a 126-page volume, but Hope Shannon, the former executive director of the South End Historical Society, has taken a good stab at it. A compendium of a hundred or so mini-biographies of some of those who tried to make the neighborhood a better one, or at least preserve what was good to begin with, the book provides a generously illustrated and factually detailed guide to local history. It is divided in five sections, Lives of service; Creative minds; Neighborhood fabric; Urban establishments and Shaping the built environment. The range of players are reminders of the unusual diversity of ideas and cultures that have influenced this neighborhood from the get-go. But where is the profile about Titus Sparrow, the first black umpire for the US Open, who lived on Durham Street and used to drive around the neighborhood with tennis rackets in his trunk, teaching anyone who was interested how to play? One of the best parks in the South End was named after him. Or a description of Eleanor Strong, the erudite environmental gadfly and eccentric-on-a-bicycle who advocated for green space, recycling and pick-up-your-dog's-poop way back when before it was generally accepted mantra? These and other questions will be yours to ask on Tuesday, May 27 at 6:30 PM when Shannon will talk at the South End library about her work.
Local authors usually bring in a strong crowd and seating, while free, is limited. Copies of the book will be available for sale. The library is fully handicapped accessible.
The final reading of the 2013-2014 authors series will be on:
Tuesday, June 10:
William Landay, award-winning author of crime fiction including the New York Times bestseller Defending Jacob, The Strangler and Mission Flats.