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The African-American Century : How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country [Paperback]

By Henry Louis Gates (Author) & Cornel West (Author)
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Item description for The African-American Century : How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country by Henry Louis Gates & Cornel West...

In a highly original and historic celebration of black Americans and their contributions to culture, the authors select 100 outstanding men and women and use their lives and accomplishments to create a fascinating portrait of the last century. Their selections are drawn from the worlds of politics and business, literature, sports, music, science, and cultural criticism.

Publishers Description
Without Louis Armstrong or Miles Davis, we would not have jazz. Without Toni Morrison or Ralph Ellison, we would miss some of our greatest novels. Without Dr. King or Thurgood Marshall, we would be deprived of political breakthroughs that affirm and strengthen our democracy. Here, two of the leading African-American scholars of our day, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West, show us why the twentieth century was the "African-American century, " as they offer their personal picks of the African-American figures who did the most to shape our world.
This colorful collection of personalities includes much-loved figures such as scientist George Washington Carver, contemporary favorites such as comedian Richard Pryor and novelist Alice Walker, and even less-well-known people such as aviator Bessie Coleman. Gates and West also recognize the achievements of controversial figures such as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and rap artist Tupac Shakur. Lively, accessible, and illustrated throughout, "The African-American Century" is a celebration of black achievement and a tribute to the black struggle for freedom in America that will inspire readers for years to come.

Community Description

The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country
By Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Binding: Softcover

Please Note, Community Descriptions and notes are submitted by our shoppers, and are not guaranteed for accuracy.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The African-American Century : How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country by Henry Louis Gates & Cornel West has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 652
  • Black Issues Book Review - 03/01/2002 page 37
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 719
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 537
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 908

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Free Press
Pages   432
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 7.24" Height: 1.13"
Weight:   1.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 5, 2002
Publisher   Free Press
ISBN  0684864150  
ISBN13  9780684864150  

Availability  0 units.

More About Henry Louis Gates & Cornel West

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is editor in chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center and of the daily online magazine The Root. He has received more than forty honorary degrees from institutions the world over.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > African-American & Black
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > African Americans > History
5Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
6Books > Subjects > History > World > 20th Century
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > African American > Gates, Henry Louis

Reviews - What do customers think about The African-American Century : How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country?

Nice but could be better..  Feb 22, 2004
The publication is a fine read for a person of any race and most ages (10 & above). However, I feel that the last sections of the book place excessive emphasis on contemporary cultural "pop" figures, i.e., persons in show business and sports. Too many black notables in the sciences and fine arts are ignored.

As a previous reviewer noted, perhaps a future edition will be more balanced and will give the American Negro proper credit for invaluable contributions to our culture and society.

Very good and informative book  Feb 21, 2002
I found "The African American Century" to be informative and at times entertaining. Most of the time, real proud. I am planning on giving out copies as prizes for our African American History program at church. However, at times, I found some of the information and dates to be inaccurate. Despite that, it is a great book to give to schools and children, and it is highly recommended by me.
Great Reference: Just Understand Its Purposes  Mar 9, 2001
Even though this book gives brief biographical sketches of significant African Americans, I still give it five stars for the following reasons:

1) It is a very neatly organized resource for notable African-Americans, that can give quick and accurate information about these people and their times. I like that each page clearly shows the decade during which that person made major accomplishments. For each person profiled, there is at least one photo, and a provocative, "boxed" quote.

2) This kind of book is desperately needed by most of America's schoolteachers. Many are not well-informed about the achievements of African-Americans, and here they get a quick, clear, and stimulating profile of many who made major contributions. Further, Professors Gates and West provide a bibliography that leads the reader to at least one significant in-depth work about each person profiled, so those who want to know more are "pointed in the right direction."

3) While there are some sports and entertainment figures, I don't think there is any bias in that direction. With personages like Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron, you MUST include them in a work like this because they really transcended sports, and became larger-than-life symbols of social issues.

4) Professors Cornel West and Henry Gates Jr. write in a very clear manner, and don't candy-coat their subject manner. They point out the contradictions in many of these peoples' lives, mention their social critics, and demonstrate that meaningful lives are seldom neat and tidy ones. To professors Gates and West, I say "Thanks, fellas, for not coming across like the stereotypical "stuffy Harvard scholars!"

Finally, if you know of a school teacher who is well-intended about teaching more about African American history, but maybe can benefit from an attractively presented and easily accessible resource book, think of this as a thoughtful gift to that person. Next time February (Black History Month) rolls around, they will have lots of suggestions for class projects and pupil reports.

What would the 20th century in America look like without the contributions of its African-American citizens? Henry Gates and Cornel West take up that very question in chronicling how African-Americans shaped the culture of the United States. The authors profile African-Americans from each decade of the 20th century and show how their accomplishments have impacted upon the country.

Overall the authors have produced a good book for coffee table discussions and stimulating conversations about African American contributions. Its weakness lies in the fact that most of these persons are already known, it leans heavily towards those in the field of entertainment and many of the essays are unclear as to what the person contributed beyond being the first Black in their field.

Another element missing is the lack of information regarding what was going on in the person's particular decade that enabled them to achieve against the odds. The African American Century falls short in giving you a full comprehensive look at what Blacks achieved throughout the decades. You are left with individual biographical portraits of those who "made it". I recommend the book as a referance guide for those unaquainted with the persons profiled. Perhaps the authors will come up with another volume that is more comprehensive of the achievements of African Americans in fields other than entertainment and sports.

Our History: None Like No Other!  Dec 7, 2000
The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country by Cornel West and Henry Louis, Jr. Gates is an A+ reference book of Black historical figures who have contributed to and have transformed the life of the Black American in the making of America over the past 100 years. Decade by decade the authors give memorable history "sessions" about some of the greatest achievements made by these Americans in shaping a Democratic society, despite issues of racism, bigotry and the mere struggle to survive. I would recommend this book to anybody as an addition to your collection in your family library because in a true light, it embraces a positive understanding and influences made by even the most controversial figures or role models throughout the 20th century. I bought this book as a gift, but I'm glad I kept it for myself!

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