Focusing primarily on careers, with only very limited information about the subjects' personal histories, this reference work reads like a compilation of narrative resumes rather than biographical sketches. Of the 558 people listed, 178 cannot be found in either Who's Who Among Black Americans (Gale, 1989. 6th ed.) or The Negro Almanac: A Reference Work on the African American , compiled and edited by Harry A. Ploski and James Williams ( LJ 6/1/90. 5th ed.). For this reason alone libraries may want to purchase the new title, despite several flaws. Among the most annoying imperfections is the author's lack of consistency in following his criteria for inclusion. He states that only those alive after 1968 will be listed, for example, yet Malcolm X appears, while several people who would meet all his preconditions--James Farmer, Alex Haley, Gwen Cherry, Fannie Lou Hamer--do not. This will make it difficult for librarians to determine who might be included without referring to the volume. Other flaws include the use of nicknames for some but not all the people who have them; failure to give death dates for all entries that warrant them; and omission of birth dates for some entries. Both Walter E. Fauntroy and Eleanor Norton are described as the Washington, D.C. representative to Congress, which means that Fauntroy's entry is already outdated. Still, this is recommended to most libraries because many of those listed are people to watch, and 178 of them can't be found elsewhere.-- Anita L. Cole, Miami-Dade P.L. System, Fla.
One-page biographies provide fairly detailed, career-oriented summaries, some accompanied by a photograph. Criteria for inclusion include career accomplishments, being the first African American in the field or profession (civil rights, sciences, sports, government, business, military, etc.), individual awards (Hall of Fame, Olympic Medal, etc.), and overall leadership. Includes occupational and geographical indexes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)