African American National Biography




The African American National Biography will present history through a mosaic of the lives of thousands of individuals, illuminating the abiding influence of persons of African descent on...

See more details below
Hardcover (Supplement)
$250.00 price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $101.25   
  • New (3) from $239.40   
  • Used (2) from $101.25   
Sending request ...




The African American National Biography will present history through a mosaic of the lives of thousands of individuals, illuminating the abiding influence of persons of African descent on the life of this nation from the arrival of Esteban in Spanish Florida in 1529 through to notable black citizens of the present day.

Available initially as a handsome 8-volume set containing over 4,000 entries written and signed by distinguished scholars, the AANB will continue to grow along with the field of African American biographical research, and continuous updates to the online edition will bring the total number of lives profiled to more than 5,000. This is a remarkable achievement, an eightfold increase over the number of biographies contained in 2004's award-winning and substantial African American Lives.

In addition to Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr., the AANB will include a wide range of African Americans from all time periods and all walks of life, both famous and nearly-forgotten. In the words of AANB editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "These stories, long buried in the dusty archives of history, will never be lost again. And that is what scholarship in the field of African American Studies should be all about."

Comprehensive, Unmatched in Scope, and Completely Up-to-Date

• The largest scholarly reference project covering African American lives and history ever undertaken
• The most diverse and extensive collection of African American biographies: eight volumes containing 4,000 biographies and 1,000 images of notable black Americans
• Biographies will be added to the Oxford African American Studies Center and updated on a regular basis, making new scholarship easily accessible and instantly available
• Entries written by more than one thousand scholars and experts
• Includes a Directory of Contributors, an Index of Subjects by Category or Area of Renown, and an Index of Prizewinners, Medalists, Members of Congress and Judges
• A Further Reading section follows each entry


• The product of a remarkable scholarly partnership between Oxford University Press and the W. E. B. Du Bois Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University
• Entry authors are top researchers and scholars in African American studies, including Darlene Clark Hine, John Hope Franklin, Trudier Harris, Nell Irvin Painter, and Jean Fagin Yellin
• In line with current scholarship and utilizes the latest technological innovations to present biographical information
• A groundbreaking achievement that will be the standard resource on African American lives for teachers, students, scholars, and anyone interested in African American and American history

Biographies of the Famous, the Infamous, and the Little Known

• Colonel Allensworth: founder of an all-black town in California in 1808
• Alice the Negro: a female slave and Episcopalian who died in Philadelphia at the age of 116
• Maria Louise Baldwin: headmistress of the famous Agassiz Grammar School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1916
• Fannie Lou Hamer: civil rights activist
• Shirley Ann Jackson: physicist and chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
• Quincy Jones: musician, composer and producer
• Nat Love: 19th century cowboy and author
• Barack Obama: politician, author, and 2008 Presidential candidate
• Jessye Norman: opera signer
• Richard Potter: "celebrated Ventriloquist and Professor of Legerdemain" who owned a two-hundred acre estate in Andover, Massachusetts
• Arthur Alfonso Schomburg: historian and bibliophile
• Esteban: the first African known to have stepped onto the North American continent, who eventually become a Zuni deity after his death
• Stagolee: legendary outlaw
• Carter G. Woodson: historian

The History of the Project

Until the seminal Dictionary of American Negro Biography was published in 1982, African American lives and achievements had been largely underrepresented in scholarly biographical reference works. With the intent of updating the Dictionary's scholarship, and utilizing new technological innovations in biographical research, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, along with Oxford University Press, launched the African American National Biography, the largest black biographical dictionary project to date.

To give readers a preview of the 5,000 biographies that will eventually be published (online or in print), Gates and Higginbotham published the one-volume African American Lives in 2004. This single volume, published to much acclaim, was a crowning achievement in recording the contributions of some 600 historically significant African Americans. Including a mosaic of individuals (both alive and deceased), some known throughout the world, others all but forgotten, African American Lives was recognized as an important first step in recovering the subjects that inhabit black history and culture.

The African American National Biography will expand to eight volumes containing approximately 4,000 biographies and will thus illuminate the broad sweep of African American biography more fully than ever before, giving us an even greater appreciation of the roles played by African Americans in history. These biographies will also be added to the online resource, the Oxford African American Studies Center, on an ongoing basis and will thus encompass a fully up-to-date and comprehensive scholarly reference.

Prepublication Price $795.00 through February 29, 2008; $995.00 thereafter. 8 volumes.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up -Laying another cornerstone for studies of African-American history and culture, the prolific author fronts a host of scholarly contributors to present detailed profiles of more than 4000 people, past and present. Along with all of the "canonical figures" from Esteban to Frederick Douglass, readers are introduced to an array of Bakers ranging from Josephine and Frankie to renowned librarian Augusta; ex-slave Charlie Aarons; midwives Margaret Charles Smith and Onnie Lee Logan; Oprah Winfrey; and numerous other businesspeople, scientists, politicians, performers, athletes, laborers, artists, scholars, and soldiers. The alphabetically arranged articles open with a quick identifying phrase; close with recommended print and, often, archival resources; and in between present a dense but revealing mix of biography and analytical comments (even in grade school, Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin "displayed a precocious talent for dissent"). Access is an issue; aside from highlighting the names of fellow entrants, plus an occasional name-variant "see" note, there are no cross-references, and the indexes in the final volume are limited to long lists of names under birthplaces, awards, and broad occupational categories. The photographs and other black-and-white illustrations are scanty, small, and poorly reproduced. Nonetheless, conceived as a complement for The American National Biography (2002) and unique in its breadth, this monumental work supersedes the selective edition published as African American Lives (2004, both Oxford) and belongs in every substantial print reference collection. Future updates will be added to the online version in the publisher's AfricanAmerican Studies Center.-John Peters, New York Public Library

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199920785
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/2012
  • Series: African American History Reference Series
  • Edition description: Supplement
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1094
  • Sales rank: 1,460,883
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and Afro-American Studies, Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Harvard University, and Editor of The Harvard Guide to African American History.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Articles
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Editorial Note


Directory of Contributors
African American Prizewinners
Index by Birthplace
Realm of Renown

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)