The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donald Yacovone
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the companion book to the six-part, six hour documentary of the same name, airing on national, primetime public television in the fall of 2013. The series is the first to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of 500 years of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent and the arrival of the first black conquistador, Juan Garrido, in Florida in 1513, through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today-when Barack Obama is serving his second term as President, yet our country remains deeply divided by race and class. The book explores these topics in even more detail than possible in the television series, and examines many other fascinating matters as well, such as the ethnic origins-and the regional and cultural diversity-of the Africans whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people. It delves into the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives that African Americans have created in the half a millennium since their African ancestors first arrived on these shores. Like the television series, this book guides readers on an engaging journey through the Black Atlantic world-from Africa and Europe to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States-to shed new light on what it has meant, and means, to be an African American. By highlighting the complex internal debates and class differences within the Black Experience in this country, readers will learn that the African American community, which black abolitionist Martin R. Delany described as a "nation within a nation," has never been a truly uniform entity, and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion and belief from their very first days in this country. The road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear; rather, much like the course of a river, it has been full of loops and eddies, slowing and occasionally reversing current.Ultimately, this book emphasizes the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood.
And Still I Rise: Black America Since MLK by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kevin M. Burke
336 pages, hardcover
The companion book to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s PBS series, And Still I Rise is a timeline and chronicle of the past fifty years of black history in the U.S. in more than 350 photos.Beginning with the assassination of Malcolm X in February 1965, And Still I Rise: From Black Power to the White House explores the last half century of the African American experience. More than fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the birth of Black Power, the United States has both a black president and black CEOs running Fortune 500 companies and a large black underclass beset by persistent poverty, inadequate education, and an epidemic of incarceration. Harvard professor and scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. raises disturbing and vital questions about this dichotomy. How did the African American community end up encompassing such profound contradictions? And what will ;the black community mean tomorrow?Gates takes readers through the major historical events and untold stories of the sixty years that have irrevocably shaped both the African American experience and the nation as a whole, from the explosive social and political changes of the 1960s, into the 1970s and 1980s eras characterized by both prosperity and neglect—through the turn of the century to today, taking measure of such racial flashpoints as the Tawana Brawley case, OJ Simpson’s murder trial, the murders of Amadou Diallo and Trayvon Martin, and debates around the NYPD's stop and frisk policies. Even as it surveys the political and social evolution of black America, And Still I Rise is also a celebration of the accomplishments of black artists, musicians, writers, comedians, and thinkers who have helped to define American popular culture and to change our world.