Freddie Gray mural, Baltimore, Maryland
A mural of Freddie Gray near the location where he was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Alec MacGillis, Chloe Cooper Jones, Adam Serwer, Emma Marris, and Mik Awake.

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1. The Tragedy of Baltimore

Alec MacGillis | The New York Times/ProPublica | March 12, 2019 | 34 minutes (8,590 words)

Since Freddie Gray’s death, Baltimore — which once inspired The Wire but in recent years seemed to be experiencing an urban revival — has seen a sharp increase in violent crime amidst “a failure of order and governance the likes of which few American cities have seen in years.”

2. Fearing for His Life

Chloe Cooper Jones | The Verge | March 13, 2019 | 26 minutes (6,500 words)

Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner. The video traveled far, but it wouldn’t get justice for his dead friend. Instead, the NYPD would exact their revenge through targeted harassment and eventually imprisonment — Orta’s punishment for daring to show the world police brutality.

3. White Nationalism’s Deep American Roots

Adam Serwer | The Atlantic | March 15, 2019 | 18 minutes (4,686 words)

“What is judged extremist today was once the consensus of a powerful cadre of the American elite, well-connected men who eagerly seized on a false doctrine of “race suicide” during the immigration scare of the early 20th century.”

4. How Rats Became an Inescapable Part of City Living

Emma Marris | National Geographic | March 14, 2019 | 15 minutes (3,754 words)

Where there are people, there are rats: they’re smart, hardy, and empathetic, and we can’t really complain about them when it’s our trash that feeds them.

5. On Owning Many Books

Mik Awake | Popula | March 12, 2019 | 5 minutes (1,358 words)

“I know that book collections become a pantomime of erudition, or a flex, as I often think when walking past the lit windows of tony brownstones in Brooklyn and catch sight of a large built-in bookcase. And yet when I have ever passed one without the tug of desire?”