Creating Black Americans: African-American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present

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Oxford University Press, 2006 - Art - 458 pages
Here is a magnificent account of a past rich in beauty and creativity, but also in tragedy and trauma. Eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter blends a vivid narrative based on the latest research with a wonderful array of artwork by African American artists, works which add a new depth to our understanding of black history.
Painter offers a history written for a new generation of African Americans, stretching from life in Africa before slavery to today's hip-hop culture. The book describes the staggering number of Africans--over ten million--forcibly transported to the New World, most doomed to brutal servitude in Brazil and the Caribbean. Painter looks at the free black population, numbering close to half a million by 1860 (compared to almost four million slaves), and provides a gripping account of the horrible conditions of slavery itself. The book examines the Civil War, revealing that it only slowly became a war to end slavery, and shows how Reconstruction, after a promising start, was shut down by terrorism by white supremacists. Painter traces how through the long Jim Crow decades, blacks succeeded against enormous odds, creating schools and businesses and laying the foundations of our popular culture. We read about the glorious outburst of artistic creativity of the Harlem Renaissance, the courageous struggles for Civil Rights in the 1960s, the rise and fall of Black Power, the modern hip-hop movement, and two black Secretaries of State. Painter concludes that African Americans today are wealthier and better educated, but the disadvantaged are as vulnerable as ever.
Painter deeply enriches her narrative with a series of striking works of art--more than 150 in total, most in full color--works that profoundly engage with black history and that add a vital dimension to the story, a new form of witness that testifies to the passion and creativity of the African-American experience.
* Among the dozens of artists featured are Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, Jacob Lawrence, and Kara Walker
* Filled with sharp portraits of important African Americans, from Olaudah Equiano (one of the first African slaves to leave a record of his captivity) and Toussaint L'Ouverture (who led the Haitian revolution), to Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

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Creating Black Americans: African-American history and its meanings, 1619 to the present

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"By 2002 voluntary immigrants from Africa outnumbered those who had been forcibly transported in the Atlantic slave trade." Such factual information makes up this general history of the black ... Read full review

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1 Africa and Black Americans
2 Captives Transported 1619ca 1850
3 A Diasporic People 1630ca 1850
4 Those Who Were Free ca 17701859
5 Those Who Were Enslaved ca 17701859
6 Civil War and Emancipation 18591865
7 The Larger Reconstruction 18641896
8 HardWorking People in the Depths of Segregation 1896ca 1919
13 Protest Makes a Civil Rights Revolution 19601967
14 Black Power 19661980
15 Authenticity and Diversity in the Era of HipHop 19802005
A Snapshot of African Americans in the Early TwentyFirst Century
Further Reading
Artists Whose Work Appears in Creating Black Americans

9 The New Negro 19151932
10 Radicals and Democrats 19301940
11 The Second World War and the Promise of Internationalism 19401948
12 Cold War Civil Rights 19481960
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About the author (2006)

Nell Irvin Painter is the Edward Professor of American History at Princeton. A former Director of Princeton's Program in African-American Studies, she is the author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol and Standing at Armageddon: The United States 1877-1919.

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