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On November 4, 2008, Americans went to the polls and elected the first black president in the history of the United States. Barack Obama was clearly a gifted politician with impressive achievements and a compelling life story. Still, his historic election wouldn't have been possible if earlier generations of African Americans hadn't paved the way. This book tells the stories of pioneering African-American lawyers and politicians. It details their efforts to guarantee black people the same rights enjoyed by other Americans, including the right to vote. In courtrooms, statehouses, and the halls of Congress, the people profiled in this book have helped make the United States what the framers of the Constitution hoped: "a more perfect Union."
Without education, it's very difficult to make the most of your talents and abilities. But for much of American history, black people couldn't get an education. In many places it was against the law for slaves to learn to read and write. Despite this, many brave slaves found a way to learn. Some taught themselves. Others sneaked to schools held late at night. Even after slavery was ended in 1865, African Americans continued to be treated unfairly. It was still a struggle for them to get an education. African-American educators stepped up to make a difference. They faced hardship. They often worked for very little pay—or for no pay at all. These educators built schools. They taught their students and stood up for equal rights. They proved that a person's race has nothing to do with his or her ability.
Well after slavery was abolished, its legacy of violence left deep wounds on African Americans’ bodies, minds, and lives. For many victims and witnesses of the assaults, rapes, murders, nightrides, lynchings, and other bloody acts that followed, the suffering this violence engendered was at once too painful to put into words yet too horrible to suppress. In this evocative and deeply moving history Kidada Williams examines African Americans’ testimonies about racial violence. By using both oral and print culture to testify about violence, victims and witnesses hoped they would be able to graphically disseminate enough knowledge about its occurrence and inspire Americans to take action to end it. In the process of testifying, these people created a vernacular history of the violence they endured and witnessed, as well as the identities that grew from the experience of violence. This history fostered an oppositional consciousness to racial violence that inspired African Americans to form and support campaigns to end violence. The resulting crusades against racial violence became one of the political training grounds for the civil rights movement.
“A masterwork [by] the preeminent historian of the Civil War era.”—Boston Globe Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with the nation's critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln's greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.
W. E. B. Du Bois was a public intellectual, sociologist, and activist on behalf of the African American community. He profoundly shaped black political culture in the United States through his founding role in the NAACP, as well as internationally through the Pan-African movement. Du Bois's sociological and historical research on African-American communities and culture broke ground in many areas, including the history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Du Bois was also a prolific author of novels, autobiographical accounts, innumerable editorials and journalistic pieces, and several works of history. Black Reconstruction in America tells and interprets the story of the twenty years of Reconstruction from the point of view of newly liberated African Americans. Though lambasted by critics at the time of its publication in 1935, Black Reconstruction has only grown in historical and literary importance. In the 1960s it joined the canon of the most influential revisionist historical works. Its greatest achievement is weaving a credible, lyrical historical narrative of the hostile and politically fraught years of 1860-1880 with a powerful critical analysis of the harmful effects of democracy, including Jim Crow laws and other injustices. With a series introduction by editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an introduction by David Levering Lewis, this edition is essential for anyone interested in African American history.
African-American Writers and Journalists spans nearly three centuries of literary and journalistic history, from a long-unpublished ballad composed in the 1740s by a slave named Lucy Terry to the works of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. It tells the stories of figures such as Frederick Douglass, whose towering intellect and powerful prose helped animate the movement to abolish slavery; Ida B. Wells and Charlotta Bass, journalists who risked their lives to report on racial violence and injustice; and Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright, who challenged society with hard questions about race and equality.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the mistreatment of black Americans. In this 'precise and eloquent work' - as described in its Pulitzer Prize citation - Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an 'Age of Neoslavery' that thrived in the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude thereafter. By turns moving, sobering and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals these stories, the companies that profited the most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

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