What is the setting of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates?

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jules-cordry eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ta-Nehisi Coates describes several significant settings in his book Between the World and Me (on which you can find a full analysis in the eNotes study guide). First is Baltimore, Maryland, where Coates grew up during the 1980s. After graduating high school he moved to Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University, where his father was a research librarian. Coates refers to Howard as “The Mecca” because of its reputation as the greatest historically black university in the United States. He eventually left Howard and moved with his partner and young son to Prince George’s County, Maryland (PG County for short), an area that, like Baltimore, was plagued by violence and police brutality. In New York City, where he and his family moved just before 9/11, Coates established his writing career and was deeply affected by the gentrification he saw going on around him. Around this same time he developed a fascination with the Civil War and took his son to visit several Civil War sites, including Petersburg and Shirley Plantation in Virginia. Coates was also strongly affected by witnessing an eviction in his partner’s hometown of Chicago. Finally, in Paris with his family, Coates discovered a new sense of freedom from the burden of the United States’ history of racial injustice.

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Between the World and Me

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