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The African-American Century

The African-American Century

How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country

ONE HUNDRED ORIGINAL PROFILES OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICAN AMERICANS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684864150 | 
  • February 2002
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Introduction

"...Whatever else the true American is, he is also somehow black."

-- Ralph Ellison, "What America Would Be Like Without Blacks" (1970)

It was the century in which African-American life was transformed -- and the century in which African Americans changed America. And yet, when the twentieth century opened, African Americans had been "up from slavery," as Booker T. Washington would put it in his classic autobiography, for only thirtyfive years. Over the long and arduous course of the next hundred years, the achievements of our people would be nothing less than miraculous.

Remember: In 1900 blacks... see more

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