African American lives

Author
Language English
Publisher
New York: Oxford University Press, 2004




Annotation:

Includes bibliographical references and index.



Subjects :

  • African Americans Biography

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Reviews :

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
This substantial compilation offers thorough, accessible biographies of 611 African-Americans over more than four centuries, beginning with Esteban, the first African known to have set foot in North America, up through writers, academics, artists, activists and more of today. A few of these profiles have been written by notable names—Gerald Early on Muhammad Ali, Clayborne Carson on Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, John Szwed on Miles Davis—though most are by lesser-known contributors. Usefully, the biographies contain multiple cross-references to others in the book and list sources at the end. The 1,000–3,000-word entries are generally well-written, even lyrical, and balanced, for example assessing controversies regarding O.J. Simpson or preacher Daddy Grace. This achievement has flaws. Some biographies include unnecessary lists of awards and cheerleading: why tell us of Condoleezza Rice being honored by the NAACP but not of her role in the Iraq war? Wasn't Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. a tyrant as well as a genius? Former energy secretary Hazel O'Leary is described as "strikingly attractive and warm" while academic Cornel West embodies a "profound love for and faith in humanity." Some 257 of the entries have been reprinted from American National Biography\n (Oxford, 1999); Gates and Higginbotham's volume is part of the African-American National Biography project, which will include 6,000 profiles. While this book has resurrected numerous figures—Onesimus, slave and medical pioneer; Daniel Coker, a founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; etc.—it undoubtedly will inspire debate about more contemporary choices. Why Tupac Shakur but not Russell Simmons (or anyone else from the rap world)? Why Suzan-Lori Parks but not George C. Wolfe? Why Sharon Pratt Kelly, the first African-American female mayor of a major city, but not her more controversial predecessor, Marion Barry? Oh, and if his former colleague West is included, where's editor Gates himself? Despite such quibbles, this documenting of major power and achievement will undoubtedly be a standard reference work. Agent, Lynn Nesbit.\n(Apr.) \n"
(PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2004.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Media Type: Language Material
xxvi 1025 p.:
E185.96 (920/.009296073)
019516024X
9780195160246
Oxford University Press (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2004.,

Media Type:

9780195160246
019516024X

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