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The complete idiot guide to american history


African American
History
by Melba J. Duncan

A Pearson Education Company



African American
History
by Melba J. Duncan

A Pearson Education Company


ALPHA BOOKS
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Copyright © 2003 by Melba J. Duncan
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ISBN: 1-4406-1448-2
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Contents at a Glance
Part 1:

Dreams and Dreams Deferred: The Early History
1 Portrait of a People
Explore a rich legacy of hope and commitment.

Part 2:

Part 3:

1
3

2 Slavery: What Happened When
Learn the early history of an American institution.

17

3 Slavery: The Human Toll
Hear voices from the American holocaust.

29

4 Portrait of a Rebellion
Take a journey on the Amistad.

43

A House Divided: The Later History

53

5 Discord and Decision: The Civil War
Learn the key facts about this momentous American conflict.

55

6 Emancipation (Not)
Learn how white supremacists consolidate political, social,
and economic power after the Civil War.

67

7 The Jim Crow Laws
Find out the sad truth behind “American apartheid.”

77

8 The Great Migration
Join the millions who made their way out of the South to
find a better life.

87

9 A Challenge to a Nation
Find out about the early twentieth-century challenges to
racism in America.

97

10 The Modern Civil Rights Movements
Learn about the extraordinary struggles—and victories—
that followed the World War II period.

111

11 After Dr. King
See what happened in the aftermath of the turbulent
1960s in the African American community.

125

12 A House United, a House Divided
Learn about recent developments in the community.

137

Power on the Inside: Spirit and Soul
13 Faith
Meet some of America’s most important religious pioneers.

147
149


14 Festivities
Discover the celebrations unique to African American life.

159

15 Fortune: African American Entrepreneurship
Learn about the often-neglected history of business success.

169

16 Femininity: African American Women
Meet remarkable women who made significant contributions
to business, politics, and the arts.

181

Part 4:

Power on the Outside: Contributions to American Culture

197

17 Five Giants
Meet five men who changed the world.

199

18 African American Writing
Learn about African American literary achievements.

211

19 In the Groove: African American Rhythm
Discover some of the most important musical innovators.

221

20 Big Screen, Small Screen: African Americans and
Modern Media
Explore obstacles—and triumphs—in films, radio,
and television.
21 Fighting Anyway: Heroism in a Segregated Military
Meet some of America’s often forgotten defenders.

Part 5:

The Road from Here

231

241

253

22 Supporting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Find out about some of the most important current
initiatives.

255

23 Beyond the Rainbow: Race in American Politics
Learn why 1968 was a fateful year in American political
history and race relations.

263

24 Epilogue: Beyond Race in America
Find out who’s continuing to help create the ongoing legacy
of pride and self-determination … and how you can help.

275

Appendixes
A Bibliography and Recommended Reading

281

B Recommended Websites

285

Index

287


Contents
Part 1: Dreams and Dreams Deferred: The Early History
1 Portrait of a People

1
3

A Pattern of Intimidation ..............................................................4
Sending a Message ........................................................................4
“Know Your Place” ......................................................................7
Three Days of Murder … with a Message ..................................8
The “Proper Sphere” ....................................................................9
The Ongoing Struggle for Self-Definition ..................................10
Abuse of the Criminal Justice System ..........................................10
Abuse of the Civil Justice System ................................................12
White Racism (Spoken and Unspoken) ........................................12
The Great National Drama ........................................................14
The American Dream ..................................................................14
Hey, You! ..................................................................................15

2 Slavery: What Happened When

17

Slavery: A Global Timeline ........................................................18
Slavery, American Style ..............................................................20
Indentured Servants—Not ..........................................................20
Snapshot: Life and Death on a Slave Ship ..................................21
The Declaration of Independence (of White Males) ................22
The Northwest Ordinance ..........................................................22
The Constitution and Its Loopholes ..........................................23
Excluded from “We the People” ..................................................23
End of the American Slave Ship but Not of Slavery ....................24
The Missouri Compromise ........................................................24
Rebellion in the South, Opposition in the North ......................24
The Divisions Deepen ................................................................25
Yet Another Uneasy Compromise ..............................................26
A Precursor Battle ......................................................................26
Don’t Stop Here! ........................................................................27

3 Slavery: The Human Toll

29

An Incalculable Human Loss ......................................................29
The Underground Railroad ........................................................30
America’s Long-Running Holocaust ............................................31
“Bought and Sold in the Market Like an Ox” ............................32


vi

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History
An English Specialty ....................................................................33
Auctions North and South ..........................................................34
The Plantation Economy ............................................................35
Good Master, Bad Master ..........................................................36
Sold Down the River ..................................................................37
On the Run ..................................................................................37
In the Name of Christianity ........................................................39
Exodus and the Psalms ..............................................................40

4 Portrait of a Rebellion

43

Black Mutiny ................................................................................43
Why the Amistad Still Matters ....................................................44
A Strange Northward Journey ....................................................45
Piracy and Murder—or Self-Defense? ......................................46
The Biggest Story of the Day ......................................................47
A Challenge to the American Legal System ..............................47
A White Man’s Nation? ..............................................................48
Enter John Quincy Adams ..........................................................48
Set Free ........................................................................................50
The Other Side of the Amistad Decision ....................................51
Prelude to a Bloodbath ................................................................51

Part 2: A House Divided: The Later History
5 Discord and Decision: The Civil War

53
55

Fredrick Douglass Calls It as He Sees It ....................................56
A Raid in Virginia ........................................................................57
The Emancipation Proclamation ................................................60
The Road to the Proclamation ....................................................60
Immediate Effects ......................................................................61
Long-Term Effects ......................................................................61
A Limited Emancipation ............................................................62
African American Troops on the March ....................................62
The Fifty-Fourth ......................................................................62
Other Important Battles Involving African American Troops ......63
Individual Accomplishments ........................................................64
Racism Endures ..........................................................................65

6 Emancipation (Not)

67

Overt Legal and Political Measures ............................................68
No Land ....................................................................................68


Contents
Watering Down the Fourteenth Amendment ..............................68
No Civil Rights Law ..................................................................68
Plessy v. Ferguson ..................................................................69
Poll Taxes, Literacy Tests, and “White Primaries” ......................70
From Slavery to Serfdom ..........................................................71
Behind-the-Scene Manipulation of the Political System ..........71
Hayes Caves In to the South ......................................................72
Totalitarianism in the South ......................................................73
Terrorism ....................................................................................73
The Klan ..................................................................................73
American Terrorism in the Aftermath of the Civil War ..............74

7 The Jim Crow Laws

77

America’s Apartheid ....................................................................78
What Jim Crow Was Designed to Do ........................................79
The Constitution Gets an Overhaul: America Decides to
Ignore It ....................................................................................79
Jim Crow’s Forebears ..................................................................80
The Rise of Jim Crow ................................................................80
Customs and Traditions—of Terror ............................................82
Jim Crow Cars ..........................................................................82
The Supreme Court Signs Off on Jim Crow ..............................82
Reading Between the Lines ........................................................83
Laws Are Laws, People Are People ............................................85

8 The Great Migration

87

On the Move ................................................................................87
Causes ..........................................................................................88
The African American Press Sounds Off ....................................90
In Search of a New Life ..............................................................90
Effects of the Great Migration ....................................................92
Demographic Shifts ....................................................................92
Changes and Challenges ............................................................92
Dawn of the Urban Challenge ....................................................93
A Cultural Movement ..................................................................94
The Hard Reality of Life in the Cities ........................................95

9 A Challenge to a Nation

97

The Great Debate: Social Equality ............................................98
Organized Legal Action and Protest ..........................................99
Before Brown v. Board of Education ....................................100

vii


viii The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History
Other Voices, Other Challenges ..............................................103
Marcus Garvey’s “Back to Africa” Movement ..........................103
Pickets During the Depression ..................................................105
The National Negro Congress ..................................................105
The (Other) Bus Boycott ..........................................................106
CORE Is Born ........................................................................106
Two Calls for Change ................................................................106
A Call for Change on the Diamond ..........................................106
A Call for Change in the American Mind ................................107

10 The Modern Civil Rights Movement

111

The Federal Government ........................................................112
Time for a Change ....................................................................112
Activism for Equal Opportunity ..............................................113
The Nonviolent Ideal ................................................................114
Brown v. Board of Education ........................................................115
Rosa Parks Takes a Ride ............................................................116
The Little Rock Nine ................................................................117
The Sit-Ins Begin ......................................................................117
The Freedom Rides ..................................................................118
James Meredith and Ole Miss ..................................................119
Medgar Evers Murdered ..........................................................119
“I Have a Dream” ......................................................................120
The Sixteenth-Street Bombing ................................................120
Freedom Summer, 1964 ............................................................120
The Other Side of the Coin ......................................................120
Bloody Sunday ..........................................................................121
King Assassinated ......................................................................122
Remembering Those Who Paid the Ultimate Price ..............123

11 After Dr. King

125

End of Segregation in Public Schools ......................................126
The Fallout from Brown and Alexander ................................127
1974: Boston’s School System Flunks ........................................128
Schools Under Siege ................................................................128
Making Diversity in the Classroom a Reality ............................129
Emerging Leaders ....................................................................129
Jesse Jackson ............................................................................129
Louis Farrakhan ......................................................................130
Harold Washington ..................................................................130
Colin Powell ............................................................................131
Clarence Thomas ......................................................................131


Contents
The African American Middle Class ........................................132
On the Tube: (Black) Father Knows Best ..................................132
A Looming Question ................................................................132
The Rodney King Riots ............................................................133

12 A House United, a House Divided

137

The Million Man March ..........................................................138
Big Media Misses the Point ......................................................138
The Clinton Pardon That Didn’t Lead the Nightly News ....138
California Civil Rights Initiative Undoes Affirmative
Action ......................................................................................139
Julian Bond Speaks Out ............................................................139
Fiasco in Florida ........................................................................140
The Reparations Movement ....................................................142
A Wave of Scam Artists ..........................................................142
At Century’s End ......................................................................143

Part 3: Power on the Inside: Spirit and Soul
13 Faith

147
149

Early African American Religious Experience ........................149
The Drive for Self-Determination and Religious Expression ......150
A Side Note ............................................................................150
Richard Allen ............................................................................151
Peter Williams Sr. ......................................................................152
Hiram Revels ............................................................................152
William J. Seymour ..................................................................153
Thomas A. Dorsey ....................................................................154
Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman ..........................155
Other African American Faith Traditions ................................156
Nation of Islam ........................................................................156
Rastafarianism ........................................................................156
Santeria ..................................................................................157

14 Festivities

159

Kwanzaa ....................................................................................159
The Father of Kwanzaa ..........................................................161
Martin Luther King Day ..........................................................162
Resistance ................................................................................163
Community Service ..................................................................164
Black History Month ................................................................165
The Father of Black History ....................................................166

ix


x

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History
15 Fortune: African American Entrepreneurship

169

Building Prosperity, Building the Community ........................169
African American Business in Early America ..........................171
African American Entrepreneurialism at the Dawn of
the Twentieth Century ............................................................173
Madam C. J. Walker ..................................................................173
Move Over, Thomas Edison ....................................................175
Beard’s Breakthroughs ..............................................................175
The Real McCoy ......................................................................175
A Scientist Steps Up for Southern Agriculture ..........................175
Beyond the Color Line ..............................................................177
The Modern Era ........................................................................177

16 Femininity: African American Women

181

Barbara Jordan ..........................................................................182
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................182
To Learn More About Barbara Jordan … ................................183
Oprah Winfrey ..........................................................................183
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................183
To Learn More About Oprah Winfrey … ................................184
Rita Dove ..................................................................................184
Potent Quote ............................................................................184
To Learn More About Rita Dove … ........................................185
Angela Davis ..............................................................................185
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................185
To Learn More About Angela Davis … ....................................185
Shirley Chisholm ......................................................................186
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................187
To Learn More About Shirley Chisholm … ..............................187
Fannie Lou Hamer ....................................................................187
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................188
To Learn More About Fannie Lou Hamer … ..........................188
Rosa Parks ..................................................................................188
Potent Quote ............................................................................189
To Learn More About Rosa Parks … ........................................189
Dorothy Dandridge ..................................................................189
Potent Quote ............................................................................190
To Learn More About Dorothy Dandridge … ..........................190


Contents
Ella Fitzgerald ............................................................................190
Potent Quote ............................................................................191
To Learn More About Ella Fitzgerald … ................................191
Mary McLeod Bethune ............................................................191
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................192
To Learn More About Mary McLeod Bethune … ....................192
Ida Wells-Barnett ......................................................................192
Potent Quote ............................................................................192
To Learn More About Ida Wells-Barnett … ............................193
Madam C. J. Walker ..................................................................193
Potent Quote ............................................................................193
To Learn More About Madam C. J. Walker … ........................193
Harriet Tubman ........................................................................193
Potent Quotes ..........................................................................194
To Learn More About Harriet Tubman … ..............................194
Sojourner Truth ........................................................................194
Potent Quote ............................................................................195
To Learn More About Sojourner Truth … ................................195

Part 4: Power on the Outside: Contributions to American Culture
17 Five Giants

197
199

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ......................................................200
The Significance of Selma ........................................................200
King Alienates the Political Left ..............................................201
We Shall Overcome ..................................................................202
Malcolm X ................................................................................202
A New Vision ..........................................................................204
What’s In a Name? ..................................................................204
Asa Philip Randolph ..................................................................205
The March on Washington ......................................................205
Roy Wilkins ..............................................................................206
Ralph Bunche ............................................................................207
Walking the Path ....................................................................208
And Let’s Not Forget … ..........................................................209

18 African American Writing

211

Beginnings ..................................................................................211
Slave Narratives ........................................................................212
Regionalist Stories ....................................................................214

xi


xii

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History
Novels ........................................................................................214
Nonfiction ..................................................................................215
Poetry ........................................................................................216
Theatre ......................................................................................218
August Wilson: The Theatrical Champ ....................................218
Walking a Long Road ................................................................220

19 In the Groove: African American Rhythm

221

The Anonymous Tradition ........................................................222
James Carter, Where Art Thou? ..............................................223
Robert Johnson ..........................................................................223
Louis Armstrong ........................................................................225
“Duke” Ellington ......................................................................225
Ella Fitzgerald ............................................................................226
Miles Davis ................................................................................227
Chuck Berry ..............................................................................228
Jimi Hendrix ..............................................................................228
The List Goes On ....................................................................229

20 Big Screen, Small Screen: African Americans and Modern Media

231

African American Film Pioneers ..............................................232
Hollywood’s First “Oscar” Challenges and Stereotypes ..............232
Spencer Williams ....................................................................234
Other Early African American Film Pioneers ..........................234
A New Era ................................................................................235
Amos ‘n’ Andy Revisited ........................................................235
A National Disgrace: The Failure of The Nat “King”
Cole Show ..........................................................................236
Invisible Men and Women… Become Visible ..........................238

21 Fighting Anyway: Heroism in a Segregated Military

241

The Revolutionary War ............................................................242
(Slaveholding) Founding Fathers ..............................................243
Washington Rebuffs the Slaves ..................................................244
The War of 1812 ......................................................................245
Formal Segregation in the Armed Forces ..................................246
The Civil War ............................................................................246
In the North ............................................................................247
In the South ............................................................................247
The Buffalo Soldiers ..................................................................248


Contents xiii
The Spanish-American War ......................................................248
World War I ..............................................................................249
World War II ............................................................................249
The Tuskegee Airmen ..............................................................250
FDR Cuts a Deal ....................................................................250
A White Missourian Desegregates the Armed Forces ............250
Fighting Anyway ........................................................................251

Part 5: The Road from Here
22 Supporting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

253
255

Economic Progress, Economic Obstacles ................................255
Philadelphia United CDC ........................................................257
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................257
The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship ....258
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................258
National Black Business Trade Association ..............................258
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................259
National Black Chamber of Commerce ..................................259
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................259
African-American Women Business Owners Association ........260
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................260
Minority Business Development Agency ..................................260
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................260
Sablenet ......................................................................................261
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................261
The Black Greek Network ........................................................261
Why It’s Worth Celebrating ....................................................262
Supporting the Community ......................................................262

23 Beyond the Rainbow: Race in American Politics

263

Racist Democracy and Its Long-Term Legacy ........................264
Covert Racism ..........................................................................265
The Same Election, Again and Again ......................................266
The 1968 Pattern ....................................................................267
Widening the Rift ......................................................................267
What If? ....................................................................................268
The Nixon Legacy ....................................................................269


Open Wounds ............................................................................270
The First Challenge: The Family Unit ....................................270
The Second Challenge: The Emergence of an Underclass ..........271
The Third Challenge: Unequal Earning Capacity ....................271
Beyond Politics ..........................................................................272

24 Building a Future

275

Build Your Own Ending ............................................................275
Challenges and Opportunities ..................................................276
Social Action: Protecting Civil Rights … from Cyberspace ....277
Where We Stand ....................................................................277
The Big Idea ............................................................................277
The Initiative ..........................................................................277
Social Action: Supporting Tolerance and Cultural
Understanding at Home—and Around the World ................278
Where We Stand ....................................................................278
The Big Idea ............................................................................278
The Initiative ..........................................................................278
Economic Action ......................................................................279
A Final Thought ........................................................................280

Appendixes
A Bibliography and Recommended Reading

281

B Recommended Websites

285

Index

287


Foreword
Melba Duncan’s extraordinary book is a trip through the dungeons of American
history—but it is also a journey that concludes in the sunlight of opportunity found
by all those who are willing to stand up and claim their dreams. This must-read volume offers a compelling overview of nearly four centuries of African American challenge, spirit, and contribution. It should be mandatory reading for the student, the
general reader interested in the rich legacy of the African American, and the history
buff alike.
There are many books that have successfully documented the African American’s
experience. John Hope Franklin’s book From Slavery to Freedom is the most comprehensive documentation of the African American’s experience ever written; Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar’s Black Profiles in Courage informs us that many people of color through
the centuries were noted for their explorations, achievements, and leadership—
although standard works of history routinely ignored them. Now there is the remarkable book you hold in your hands, a worthy addition to the existing literature, and
one of the most accessible books on the subject yet written.
This book offers an amazing and inspiring testimony to the spirit of a people who for
400 years lived in daily fear of intimidation, terrorism, humiliation, and death; a people who nevertheless found the strength to become great inventors, business men and
women, scientists, military heroes, and artists; a people who transcended boundaries
and limitations to define themselves and their nation. Melba’s compulsively readable
history once and for all eradicates the notion that this great people ever developed a
tolerance for subjugation. They were—and are—always rising.
Enjoy the book!
—Horace Williams
Vice President of Government and Community Relations, the Pratt Institute
Co-founder (with Chase Bank, the Pratt Institute, and the United Way of Greater
New York) of the Youth Service Coalition of New York
Project Coordinator, Myrtle Avenue Revitalization and Development Corporation
(Brooklyn, New York)



Introduction
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History is an introduction to the extraordinary legacy of African American contribution in the United States. While I have
not shied away from accounts of struggle and crisis, I have emphasized throughout
this book the significant contributions and positive influences of African Americans to
American society.
This society is freer, less violent, and more prosperous than it was during the years
when slavery first took root here, and the contributions of African Americans in business, politics, science, and civil rights activism over four centuries must receive some
credit for that fact. This nation is more democratic, more accepting of diversity, more
supportive of equal opportunity, and more inclined to respect the rights of all its citizens today than it was in 1960, or 1920, or 1880, and that is in large measure because
of the efforts of African Americans. This nation is less prone to internal strife and
political chaos than it was in 1860, and that is due, to a larger extent than many realize, to the loyalty, service in arms, and commitment to the very idea of a United
States of America shown by African Americans.
In a book such as this, it is essential to look at the hardships we have endured at the
social, economic, and political levels. It is also essential, however, to look also at the
many remarkable ways in which we have overcomethese hardships. I believe we cannot permit real grievances to overshadow our own extraordinary contributions in the
past, the opportunities we find in the present, and the vision to which we hold firmly
as we build the future.
The legacy of racial preference is, of course, still very much alive. Gaps remain in
education, in socioeconomic stability, and in access to capital. “Logical” attempts to
dispel preconceptions, stereotypes, or outright racial hatred have not had a great track
record. What has worked well in the past, however, and is sure to continue working
well into the future, is the creation of platforms of opportunity in the areas of entrepreneurship, education, and economic opportunity. Once economic parity is attained,
racial hierarchies will diminish. The responsibility to make inroads in these areas,
however, lies squarely on the shoulders of the African American.
History teaches that governmental structures will reflect the interests and values of
dominant social groups. How, then, we ask, will change occur? What has been acceptable in the past—asking for individual freedom and agitating for tangible changes in
laws or customs—must give way to new and different forms of expression.
The initiative for change must come from within our own community. Our actions
should conform to our self-interest. Our agenda should be to inspire, and, where


xviii The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History
necessary, to raise unpopular issues and make unpopular choices. Attaining African
American control of the economic, educational, public safety, criminal justice, and
political institutions in African American communities is one such set of issues.
Ultimately, only we are responsible for the content and quality of the lives of our families and our communities. And ultimately, only we are responsible for adherence to
the only motive that supports large-scale change—positive or negative—in American
society: the profit motive. Racial prejudice is not simply an emotional response; it is
also an economically based response.
Self-interest must become the primary motive for creating competitive businesses and
civic infrastructure in the African American community. Self-interest will bring to life
the internal resources, the technology, the dormant connections to institutions of
power. Self-interest, properly channeled, will convert private success into economic and
political opportunity. Self-interest will help us to broaden our goals so that they extend
beyond fighting de facto segregation (as necessary as that is) to building and reinforcing
a legacy of profitable business development in our communities. Self-interest will help
us to build businesses that respond to the needs of a diverse population.
Learning how to “live within the system” does not mean accepting the idea of compromise; it does not mean losing our values or our culture. It does mean that the African
American community needs those of us who are entrepreneurs and executives to take
initiative in assuming advisory and leadership roles. We must help to create competitive
businesses that cater to diverse audiences and support civic infrastructure; we must help
to translate private success into large-scale political power and economic opportunity.
We must help communities focus on building social, economic, and political standards
that will endure: education for every child, the closing of income gaps, the embrace of
entrepreneurship and competition, and stability and well-being in our neighborhoods.
We must also continue to build bridges that permit entry into all communities. I am
not suggesting that we lose our core identity. I am suggesting that we embrace the ideal
of communicating in ways that open the largest possible number of doors.
This book is a starting point for those who are interested in learning about the remarkable contribution African American people have made to our country. As always,
African Americans will play a leading role in the effort of summoning our nation to its
enduring greatness.

About This Book
This book is divided into five sections that will help you learn more about the remarkable African American story.


Introduction

xix

Part 1, “Dreams and Dreams Deferred: The Early History,” gives you answers to
questions about the first part of the African American story.
Part 2, “A House Divided: The Later History,” gives you information about the
story from the Civil War to the present day.
Part 3, “Power on the Inside: Spirit and Soul,” shows you some of the institutions
and traditions the African American community has used to support itself and sustain
its vision.
Part 4, “Power on the Outside: Contributions to American Culture,” celebrates
examples of great cultural contributions, not to a narrowly defined racial group, but
to the American experience as a whole.
Part 5, “The Road from Here,” gives you an in-depth look at some of the obstacles, the opportunities, and the good work being done in today’s African American
community.

Extras
You’ll probably want to take advantage of the little nuggets of information that show
up throughout the text of this book. These will help you gain a deeper understanding
of some element of the African American story. Here’s what they’ll look like:

FAQ
Here, you’ll get answers to
some of the most important questions about African American history and culture.

On the March
This is where you’ll find
background facts or supporting
information about some part of
the African American community’s
drive for autonomy and selfdetermination.

What’s the Word?
This is where you’ll find
concise summaries of key terms
that may not be familiar to you.

Obstacles and
Opportunities
These boxes offer illuminating examples of both challenges and opportunities.


xx

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to African American History

Acknowledgments
I thank Randy Ladenheim-Gil, Joan Paterson, and the entire team at Alpha. Grateful
thanks also go out to Max Rodriguez, Brandon Toropov, Judith Burros for her original artwork, Gene Brissie, Glenn KnicKrehm, and all those who have been staunch
supporters of the Duncan Group over the years: our clients, our candidates, and especially our colleagues: Ron Ries, David Harmon, Noreen Denihan, Diane Rush, Eden
Playe; my dear friends Madeleine Moore, Adam Moore, Madelyn Bednar, Paul
Simmons, and Ron Simmons; my sisters Joan Duncan and Clevette Duncan; and my
daughter Michelle K. Devlin, who remains my inspiration. Without their help, support, and encouragement, this book would not have been possible. My thanks go out,
too, to the many, many wonderful people with whom I have worked over the years,
and I offer my apologies that space limitations prevent me from listing them all here.

Special Thanks to the Technical Reviewer
Thanks go to Max Rodriguez, founder and publisher of the Quarterly Black Review,
who served as technical reviewer on this project.

Trademarks
All terms mentioned in this book that are known to be or are suspected of being
trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. Alpha Books and
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. cannot attest to the accuracy of this information. Use of a
term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or
service mark.


1

Part

Dreams and Dreams
Deferred: The Early
History

The institution of slavery casts a long, ominous shadow over the landscape
of American history. Its repercussions are still felt. As many observers have
noted, communities of African descent in this country have known two
and a half centuries of brutal, state-endorsed captivity; another century of
legalized oppression and vigilante abuse; and only half a century of anything else.
To decide where we’re going, it sometimes helps to know where we’ve
come from. In this part of the book, you learn about the beginnings of the
African American story—a story of the kind of self-determination and
commitment that turns obstacles into opportunities.



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