Encyclopedia Of African American Culture And History

Encyclopedia Of African American Culture And History
Publisher: MacMillan Reference Books
Pages: 2746
Date: 2005
Size: 91 mb

With coverage spanning the arrival in Virginia in 1619 of the first slaves from Africa to the election of Douglas Wilder as the first African American governor of that state, this set provides a fascinating survey of both the contributions to and the problems of blacks in American society. The 2,300 signed entries treat North America only. They range in length from a few paragraphs (Softball) to 30 pages (Education) in length. There are entries for all 50 states and major cities such as Chicago and Detroit, plus survey articles on Canada and Mexico. Articles treat individual black publications and each of the historically black colleges. There are entries highlighting the participation of blacks in all the major Christian denominations and Islam. Such entries as Black Business Community, Black Identity, Jim Crow, Kwanza, and Passing treat topics unique to African Americans. Entries on more general topics, such as Birth Control, Banking, Class and Society, Suburbanization, and Television, highlight black perspectives. The nine-page entry Advertising, for example, describes the history of advertising to African Americans and the use of African Americans in advertising aimed at whites. Entries are here for laws, court cases, and for labor unions. Coverage of the arts is extensive. Two-thirds of the entries are biographies treating such important historical figures as Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass and such contemporary people as Marian Wright Edelman and Colin Powell. Contributors to high culture such as Amiri Baraka and Jessye Norman are covered along with pop-culture icons like Bill Cosby and Chubby Checker. Only African Americans warrant biographies; other people important in the lives of African Americans, such as Abraham Lincoln, do not get separate entries.

Lead editor Salzman is professor of American culture at Columbia University. The other general editors are David Lionel Smith, from Williams College, and Cornel West, a noted author from Harvard. Many well-known scholars are contributors: James Cone, John Hope Franklin, David Levering Lewis, C. Eric Lincoln, and Eric Foner, for example. Arnold Rampersad, the biographer of Langston Hughes, authored the 12-page entry Literature. The biography of Marcus Garvey was written by Robert Hill, who is editing Garvey’s papers. Bibliographies appear at the ends of even the briefest entries. More than 1,000 black-and-white photographs and charts are found throughout the set. Many of the pictures are portraits; charts include statistics on foreign-born blacks in the U.S. in Immigration. Appendixes include more than 130 pages of charts and tables, including “Pulitzer Prize Winners,” “Chronology of African-American Voting Rights and Milestones,” “Estimated Membership of Primarily Black Denominations,” and “Black Towns, Listed by State.” A list of biographical entries by profession is followed by an extensive index that also notes illustrations.


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