Dark Continent: Africa as Seen by Americans

Dark Continent: Africa as Seen by Americans

Dark Continent: Africa as Seen by Americans

Dark Continent: Africa as Seen by Americans

Synopsis

"The reciprocal role of Americans and Africans in each other's history is becoming better understood, and this work will contribute to that effort. Certainly of interest to Afro-American researchers, the book should have a wide appeal to persons of all ages in a wide variety of contexts. Emphasis on the 'idea" of Africa in the minds of Americans places this work in a respectable genre of research emanating primarily from the pen of historical geographers; it is a worthy addition. Through both a chronological approach and a thematic approach we are led to an understanding of the woefully inadequate judgments on which American decisions about Africa and Africans were made....future research has been made much easier by this effort. It deserves a critical response. For college and public libraries." - Choice

Excerpt

The paucity of creative and scholarly works available for library and classroom use remains a crucial barrier to the adequate study of African and Afro-American arts and letters. Despite a flood of hastily conceived and rashly executed monograph and bibliographical series that ostensibly meant to address this quandary, students, scholars, and librarians agree that African and Afro-American materials continue to be either inadequate as research tools or, more often, simply unavailable at all.

Despite the intention of well-meaning publishers and eager Afro- Americanists, the 1880 lament of the black critic, Richard T. Greener, retains its poignancy as an account of knowledge of black arts and letters: "It would be interesting, were it not painful, to observe how little even educated Americans, judging from articles in current literature, know of the capacity, disposition, achievements, services, or sacrifices of the Negro in general and the Negro-American in particular." The American academy has only a limited notion of the manner in which black writers and scholars have structured their responses to the complex fate of institutionalized racial and economic discrimination. Nor does the academy have a sufficient idea of the peculiar manner in which black texts respond to considerations raised in other, related texts, which responses themselves constitute an aspect of intellectual history. What's more, there exists no systematic publishing venture that has addressed this problem intelligently, by commissioning major Africanists and Afro-Americanists to prepare sophisticated studies on the vast and challenging subject of black arts and letters.

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