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Life upon these shores : looking at African American history, 1513-2008
Jr. Gates, Henry Louis
Adult Nonfiction E185 .G27 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With nearly 900 illustrations (formal portraits, news photos, historic lithographs, broadsides, flyers, posters, newspaper clippings, advertisements) complemented by a succinct but informing text, Harvard professor Gates (Black in Latin America) provides a visual sojourn through African-American history, a generally upbeat march from Juan Garrido, accompanying Cortes in 1519, to Barack Obama taking the presidential oath in 2008. Gathered in this chronologically arranged compendium, with its focus on the accomplishments and moments of achievement in the African-American community, is a wealth of materials about the historical, political, social, literary, and scientific events influencing American social and political culture. Scant attention is paid to the oft-told tale of plantation slavery, although the devastations wrought upon the African-American community are not neglected: "the infamous Middle Passage," Fort Pillow massacre, the convict lease system, the Tulsa race riot, the Tuskegee syphilis study, the police attack on the Selma marchers, Hurricane Katrina. The familiar and famous are in Gates's encyclopedic reach, but so are the less known and nearly forgotten. (How hard it is today to imagine that a 1950 photograph of Billy Eckstein with "white female fans" could be "revolutionary.") "Although we cannot change the past," Gates observes in one entry, "we can change how we remember it." In this sumptuous volume, Gates assembles an affirming, illuminating, and needed tribute. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In this heavily illustrated, oversize volume covering the cultural and historical milestones of the past 500 years of African American history, Gates (Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard; Black in Latin America) begins with the Africans who accompanied the conquistadors to the New World and outlines the basis of African slavery. In chronologically arranged miniessays based on the latest scholarship, he goes on to track African American influences through the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Jim Crow era, the civil rights movement, and on up through hip-hop and the 2008 election of Barack Obama. Gates does an admirable job covering not only the significant figures in African American history but in reflecting on neglected individuals such as Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, the first African American diplomat appointed an ambassador (to Haiti, 1869) and Eva Beatrice Dykes, a scholar of English literature who received her Ph.D. from Radcliffe in 1921. Verdict While the relatively abbreviated entries may not match Gates's previous work, the almost 900 illustrations and accessible coverage of the varieties of black experience make Life Upon the Shores an essential source for nonspecialists from high school on up.-John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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