"...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...