Call Number
Material Type
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 973.0496 BRA Adult Paperback NonFiction Book
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 2 973.0496 B797 Adult NonFiction Book

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The most complete and affordable single-volume reference of African American culture available today, this almanac is a unique and valuable resource devoted to illustrating and demystifying the moving, difficult, and often lost history of black life in America. A legacy of pride, struggle, and triumph spanning more than 400 years is presented through a fascinating mix of biographies-including more than 750 influential figures, obscure historical facts, enlightening essays on significant legislation and movements, and 445 photographs and illustrations.

Author Notes

Lean'tin Bracks , is chair of the department of arts and languages at Fisk University and has published numerous biographies, critical reviews, and scholarly perspectives, including, African American National Biography , The Black Scholar , Contemporary African-American Novelists , Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture , and Notable African American Men . She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Jessie Carney Smith is a William and Camille Cosby Professor at Fisk University and has published more than 20 books. Her works include, Black Firsts , Black Genealogy, Black Heroes,   Encyclopedia of African American Business, Epic Lives, Freedom Facts, Notable Black American Men, Notable Black American Women, and  Powerful Black Women, She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Bracks chronicles the African American experience from the arrival of the first Africans to North America in the early 1600s to the present day. The almanac is organized into 12 chapters: Africans in America; Civil Rights; Politics; Education; Religion; Literature; Business Entrepreneurs/Media; Performing and Visual/Applied Arts; Music; Science, Technology, Inventors, and Explorers; Sports; and Military. Each chapter includes an essay and a collection of biographies of individuals who have made progress and positive change possible. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations are found throughout. The essay portions of each chapter are excellent primers. Bracks also gives context to less documented areas of African American history. In her chapter on civil rights, for example, the author begins with the Free African Society movement of the late 1700s, thoroughly covers the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and carries readers through the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006. The biographies are succinct and informative. They average two to three paragraphs and include dates, education received, and major milestones. Appropriate attention is given to larger-than-life personalities, like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Martin Luther King Jr. Women are well represented throughout, including progressives, like Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Mabel Staupers, a nurse and activist who worked to integrate African American nurses into mainstream medicine. For simplicity's sake, it may have been better to have the biography sections organized only alphabetically and not also by subcategory, but users can easily find people by last name in the comprehensive index. This is an affordable, concise, and overall first-rate resource for high-school, public, and academic libraries.--Compton-Dzak, Emily Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

The opening chapter of Bracks's (arts & languages, English, Fisk Univ.; Writings on Black Women of the Diaspora: History, Language, and Identity) concise almanac examines the arrival of the first Africans to the Americas and the rise of black nationalism after the Civil War. Subsequent chapters cover topics such as civil rights, politics, education, religion, literature, sports, and the military. Each chapter begins with a history of major associated events and people and ends with a series of biographies, some of which lack sufficient detail. For example, the entry on Ida B. Wells-Barnett provides too little about her antilynching campaign. The piece on Charles Drew doesn't mention that Drew resigned as director of the U.S. National Blood Bank program during World War II because he objected to the segregation of blood donations from whites and African Americans. BOTTOM LINE This mostly excellent overview of African American contributions to the United States will be a welcome addition to school, public, and community college libraries.-Diane Fulkerson, Univ. of South Florida Polytechnic, Lakeland (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Bracks (Fisk Univ.; author of Writings on Black Women of the Diaspora, CH, Sep'98, 36-0148) here covers four centuries of African American history, ranging from the 17th century forward. Through historical overviews and hundreds of biographies, Bracks thoughtfully illuminates "a legacy of pride, struggle, and triumph" that is part of the black experience in the US. The Almanac is presented thematically, with chapters focused on different areas, followed by biographies of people who made significant contributions in those areas. Especially gratifying is scanning the 750-plus biographies and finding entries on people who are less well-known as well as on those who are household names. A brief bibliography appears at the end of the book, but this reviewer believes these citations would be more usefully placed within the text. Having short lists of further reading to accompany each biography--especially for the less-familiar subjects and the shorter biographies--would be valuable.The division of the historical overview for a large category like music into smaller chunks, e.g., "Classical," "Blues-Jazz," "Popular," "Funk," and "Gospel," is particularly helpful. The arrangement of the biographies follows suit, as does the chapter covering performing and visual/applied arts. Several typographical and photo placement errors are evident. For instance, in Ossie Davis's biography, his wife's name is written as Rudy Dee rather than Ruby Dee; Melvin Van Peebles's photo is attached to Mario Van Peebles's biography; and Ntozake Shange's name is misspelled in Phylicia Rashad's biography. In addition, the index appears incomplete, e.g., only two listings for Oberlin Conservatory appear, and none for Oberlin College. Yet biographies are included for several individuals who, in fact, were Oberlin College students. Closer copyediting would have improved the overall impression this volume makes. Summing Up: Optional. High school and public libraries; general readers. E. A. Johnson Oberlin College Library

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