Ace of Spades, David Matthews's engrossing new memoir about growing up in Baltimore, provides a unique look into the city's white and black societies—because Matthews is the son of Ralph Matthews Jr., the black Afro-American reporter, and Robin Kahn, his white mother. "I remember kids from Pigtown calling me 'nigger'; and I remember kids from the Murphy Homes calling me 'honky,'" Matthews, 39, says from New York City. "But as with any place where your identity is formed, Baltimore has remained for me a crucible—the only place I could have come from. A few people have found me because of the book, and they have all said the same thing: 'Thank you for nailing Baltimore. When I tell people of the segregation, of the danger, of the smallness and the charms—they don't believe me.'"
Growing up in black and white.
Issue date: April, 2007