Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African American Achievement

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Overview

In Black Profiles in Courage, [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar] focuses on extraordinarily courageous black men and women who typified the virtues of integrity, discipline, and self-respect. Taken together, their lives form a legacy from which African Americans of all ages can draw inspiration, wisdom, and pride. Some of these courageous heroes include Peter Salem - the slave, blacksmith, and volunteer soldier who turned the tide at Bunker Hill; Joseph Cinque - the leader of a daring revolt on the slave ship Amistad; ...
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NY 1996 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. Signed by Author(s) This is a New and Unread copy of the first editin (1st printing) and is signed ... by Jabbar on the half title page. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In Black Profiles in Courage, [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar] focuses on extraordinarily courageous black men and women who typified the virtues of integrity, discipline, and self-respect. Taken together, their lives form a legacy from which African Americans of all ages can draw inspiration, wisdom, and pride. Some of these courageous heroes include Peter Salem - the slave, blacksmith, and volunteer soldier who turned the tide at Bunker Hill; Joseph Cinque - the leader of a daring revolt on the slave ship Amistad; Frederick Douglass - a self-taught writer and orator who escaped slavery and became one of the most famous black leaders of the nineteenth century; Harriet Tubman - the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, who was also a spy and scout for the Union Army; Lewis Latimera son of slaves, whose scientific work was integral to the achievements of Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Edison.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To provide role models for African Americans, particularly young people, retired basketball star Abdul-Jabbar (Giant Steps) and Steinberg (Behind the Mask) have crafted here interesting and nuanced accounts of heroic African Americans whose accomplishments changed U.S. history. Among them are the lives of the 16th-century Moroccan explorer Estevanico, Revolutionary War patriot Crispus Attucks, slave liberator Harriet Tubman, anti-slavery author Frederick Douglass, Western frontier marshal Bass Reeves and a riveting description of West African rice farmer Joseph Cinque, who led a rebellion on the slave ship Amistad in 1839. Although Abdul-Jabbar is highly critical of past and present racism in the U.S., he gives credit to the abolitionist movement and leaders such as William Lloyd Garrison for their efforts toward ending slavery.
Library Journal
Retired basketball legend Abdul-Jabbar's stated purpose is to build self-esteem in young African Americans by acquainting them with some of the contributions people of African descent have made to America. Pointing out that widely used school history texts have omitted or diminished the achievements of people of color in our history, he profiles the historical achievements of 11 historical black figures from Estevanico de Dorantes to Rosa Parks. Although he successfully highlights what they have accomplished, his bitterness throughout at the way white historians "have kept revising history to diminish the contributions of people of color" may lessen the impact for some readers. Suitable for young adult collections and others in which the cachet of the Abdul-Jabbar name will attract readers.Don R. Brusha, Sebring P.L., Fla.
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited collection of stories interspersed with the athlete-author's often cliched comments and observations.

Former NBA basketball star Abdul-Jabbar (Kareem, 1990) contends that the accomplishments of African-Americans have—for the most part—deliberately been written out of the history books. Penned in a conversational tone, this book is meant to "inform, encourage and inspire" those "young Americans who most need a heritage to embrace." Among those profiled here are some relatively obscure African-Americans, including Peter Salem, a slave who helped repel two British assaults at Bunker Hill, and Lewis H. Latimer, Thomas Edison's chief patent expert, who helped Edison usher in the age of electricity. Well-known African- Americans, such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, are also covered. In addition to celebrating the achievements of blacks, the author is out to demythologize the accomplishments of supportive whites. Abraham Lincoln, for example, is referred to as "the Late Emancipator," who "deliberately delayed while black people died." Abdul-Jabbar surmises that historians have constantly denied credit to those blacks who were at the forefront of our nation's major historical events because "it was too much of a contradiction to enlist blacks in the fight for freedom and then deny them those rights on the basis of their skin color." While many of Abdul-Jabbar's contentions are certainly valid, there is one major flaw to his thesis. Whereas his generation's textbooks did omit the contributions of blacks, this is not the case in the multicultural '90s. Many of the nation's current textbooks celebrate the contributions of minorities (especially Native Americans and African-Americans), often at the expense of dead white males.

Even a decade after JFK's title, Black Profiles in Courage would have been a slam dunk. In 1996, though, it seems curiously behind the times.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688130978
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Read an Excerpt

When I played my last professional basketball game on June 13, 1989, I began my passage from one kind of life to another. At forty-two, it was a scary transport. Even though I had a farewell year to prepare myself emotionally! I still felt strange when it ended. It was like saying good-bye forever to someone you loved; it felt like a death. But it was also a rebirth. Because for the first time since I was eight, I was free to explore my other interests. I immediately started addressing myself to young people more often, at basketball clinics and camps, after speeches, sometimes just out and about in my daily life. It has disturbed me for years that so many youngsters seem indifferent and adrift. Even though the seventies, eighties, and nineties were so different from the fifties when I grew up, kids I talked to kept reminding me of the beat generation of my youth: alienated and lacking direction, a moral center, or goals. And yet, like kids of every era, they still looked up to their idols. Some even looked up to me.

That made me wonder: "Who are kids' heroes today? What lessons do they have to teach?" When I asked this of kids, I was not surprised to learn that their heroes were mainly high-profile athletes and entertainers. Virtually none I spoke to knew anything about African Americans of other eras or the history of our people in this country. They knew their favorite athlete's statistics, or a movie star's films, or a rock star's latest hit song. None knew the names or contributions of true African American heroes like Crispus Attucks, Lewis Latimer, and Bass Reeves, never mind anything in depth about more traditional historical figures like Frederick Douglass and HarrietTubman. Few recognized the name of Rosa Parks.

Excerpted from Black Profiles in Courage. Copyright ) 1996 by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Exploration: black presence in the Americas 1
Estevanico
2 Revolution: black heroes of the Revolutionary War 14
The first Rhode Island
Peter Salem
Salem Poor
James Armistead LaFayette
Crispus Attucks
3 Resistance: black revolt 44
Joseph Cinque
4 Incitement: freedom on the world stage 68
Frederick Douglass
5 Escape: freedom in the shadows 92
Harriet Tubman
6 Respect: black individualism in the West 112
Bass Reeves
7 Defense: blacks in the military 140
8 Discovery: black intellectual achievement 178
Lewis H. Latimer
9 Change: black heart 197
Rosa Parks
Bibliography 223
Index 225
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