African American Lives

Front Cover
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
Oxford University Press, Apr 29, 2004 - History - 1056 pages
3 Reviews
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African American Lives offers up-to-date, authoritative biographies of some 600 noteworthy African Americans. These 1,000-3,000 word biographies, selected from over five thousand entries in the forthcoming eight-volume African American National Biography, illuminate African-American history through the immediacy of individual experience. From Esteban, the earliest known African to set foot in North America in 1528, right up to the continuing careers of Venus and Serena Williams, these stories of the renowned and the near forgotten give us a new view of American history. Our past is revealed from personal perspectives that in turn inspire, move, entertain, and even infuriate the reader. Subjects include slaves and abolitionists, writers, politicians, and business people, musicians and dancers, artists and athletes, victims of injustice and the lawyers, journalists, and civil rights leaders who gave them a voice. Their experiences and accomplishments combine to expose the complexity of race as an overriding issue in America's past and present. African American Lives features frequent cross-references among related entries, over 300 illustrations, and a general index, supplemented by indexes organized by chronology, occupation or area of renown, and winners of particular honors such as the Spingarn Medal, Nobel Prize, and Pulitzer Prize.

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I only reviewed page 33, on my cousin, Arthur Ashe. I really enjoyed being around the guy. However, he did not trace "his lineage back ten generations on his father's
side to a woman who in 1735 was brought from West Africa to Yorktown, Virginia, by the slave ship Doddington." That copyrighted research was performed by Thelma Doswell, and could have easily been discovered by performing a simple internet search. If something this simple could have been missed, it makes me wonder how much of the other information included in the book was verified. 

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The article on "Elizabeth Freeman" aka Mum Bett, nationally and internationally famous pioneer f American civil rights litigant, is full of Mistakes and repeats the errors of past historians.
. Henry Dwight Sedgwick wrote the speech/ pamphlet[ erroneously attributed to his brother Theodore Sedgwick 2nd.] The Practicability of abolition, AKA The Restoration of Natural rights, this was not meant to be a biography. It is abridged and incorrect.
2.The Writer Harriet Martineau later used H. D Sedgwick's pamphlet as a source and added more false facts. Most historians used these two sources for their reference sources.Many Writers added more false facts to Bett's biography, linking all to a long history of incorrect biographies of Mum Bett.
3.It should read Theodore not Thomas in photo caption
4. W.E.B. Du Bois wrote 3 separate and completely different blood relationships to Mum Bett
and there is little chance he is a great- grandchild of Mum Bett.
5 Charles Sedgwick, wrote the epitaph on her tomb stone.
6 the children she raise, in various way and degrees, became important components of the American civil rights movement: Theodore 2nd was a Anti-Slavery lawyer and politician in Albany NY and in Stockbridge MA. Henry was a vigorous civil rights attorney and influential Abolitionist. His pamphlet can be view online in the Mayes collection. Robert with his nephew Theodore 3rd, were lawyers for David Rugles and the New York Vigilance society.Theodore 3rd wrote anti-slavery articles for New York Post,under the pen name Veto. He wrote about ,and was one of the Lawyers for the Amistad case. Catherine became one of America's most famous authors of her day,she was known for her fiction, but her nonfiction stories of America's early African American heros, brought to light the ignorance of the southerner's arguments for slavery, as well as, leaving a legacy, of the record their lives.


Subjects by Category or Area of Renown
African American Prizewinners Medalists Members of Congress and Judges

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About the author (2004)

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Humanities, Chair of Afro-American Studies; Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham is Professor of History and Afro-American Studies, Harvard University; Editor, Harvard Guide to African American History.

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