To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans

To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans

To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans

To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans

Synopsis

Written by the most prominent of the new generation of historians, this superb volume offers the most up-to-date and authoritative account available of African-American history, ranging from the first Africans brought as slaves into the Americas, to today's black filmmakers and politicians. Here is a panoramic view of African American life, rich in gripping first-person accounts and short character sketches that invite readers to relive history as African Americans experienced it. We begin in Africa, with the growth of the slave trade, and follow the forced migration of what is estimated to be between ten and twenty million people, witnessing the terrible human cost of slavery in the colonies of England and Spain. We read of the Haitian Revolution, which ended victoriously in 1804 with the birth of the first independent black nation in the New World, and of slave rebellions and resistance in the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War. There are vivid accounts of the Civil War and Reconstruction years, the backlash of notorious "Jim Crow" laws and mob lynchings, and the founding of key black educational institutions. The contributors also trace the migration of blacks to the major cities, the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, the hardships of the Great Depression and the service of African Americans in World War II, the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1950s and '60s, and the emergence of today's black middle class. From Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Louis Farrakhan, To Make Our World Anew is an unforgettable portrait of a people.

Excerpt

The history of African Americans is nothing less than the dramatic saga of a people attempting to remake the world. Brought to the Americas against their will as commodities to be bought and sold, Africans and their descendants struggled to change their conditions and thus turn the New World of their European masters upside down. Even when they did not succeed, the actions, thoughts, and dreams of Africans are responsible for some of the most profound economic, political, and cultural developments in the modern West. Black labor generated unprecedented wealth and helped give birth to capitalism; black resistance slowly destroyed the system of slavery and prompted new methods of coercion and punishment; black creativity influenced virtually all forms of Western art—from music and dance to theater and the plastic arts; black visions of freedom and efforts to realize them not only transformed American politics but inspired uprisings the world over—from South Africa to Tiananmen Square. Indeed, by invoking Langston Hughes's call to “make our world anew, ”we recognize that African Americans historically understood their plight and their possibilities in global terms. For if this book demonstrates anything, it is that African Americans saw themselves as both Americans and part of a larger, international black diaspora.To Make Our World Anew tells the story of the nation, but places the struggles and achievements of black people in a larger international framework.

The history of African Americans begins on the African continent, a huge and varied land bounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It was home to people with different languages, traditions, histories, and religions. They called themselves Twi, Yoruba, Ethiopian, Zulu, Ashanti, and Kumba, among other names. Some lived in ancient kingdoms as old as the annals of recorded history, and others lived in small family groupings. Some lived in societies headed by powerful men, and others by powerful women. Whether in cities or rural areas, whether Muslim, Christian, or other, the peoples of this amazing continent had long played a central role in world affairs. Egyptian advances in medicine, language, and architecture greatly influenced the Greek and Roman worlds. Gold from the Bure and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.