Freedom Facts and Firsts: 400 Years of the African American Civil Rights Experienceby Jessie Carney Smith
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Spanning nearly 400 years-from the early abolitionists to the present-Freedom Facts and Firsts: 400 Years of the African American Civil Rights Experience tells the inspiring stories that shaped the history of the black struggle for freedom. It brings people, places, and events to life. You'll learn about such mainstay figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, but also how lesser-known figures contributed to and shaped the history of civil rights.
Edited and written in part by black studies scholar and university librarian Smith and historian Wynn, both at Fisk University, this one-volume encyclopedia documents African Americans' struggle for freedom, from the first slave in Jamestown, VA, in 1619 to 2008 presidential aspirant (now President-Elect) Barack Obama. The work is divided into nine chapters, with headings in alphabetical order that range from "Arts and Entertainment" and "Education" to "Organizations" and "Sports." Within each chapter, the entries-generally extending in length less than a page, a page, or a little more than a page-are further organized into subsections within chapters. The chapter on civil rights begins with a subsection ("Cities and Towns") featuring entries such as "black migration" and "Northern states." The book is replete with illustrations and photographs, while block quotes from entries are emphasized in larger point sizes and bolded. Major movements and events get greater treatment than biographies of individuals-a noteworthy strength of this work. In addition, entries on lesser-known individuals (e.g., activist William Still) are included beside those on more prominent figures like Sojourner Truth. It should also be noted that contributors are based in Tennessee.
Kam W. Teo
"Written in a vivid and accessible style, this encyclopedia is highly recommended for high school, public, and community college libraries, where it will serve students well. . . . [U]nique effort that does equally well in libraries as it does in bookstores." Library Journal
"Freedom Facts and Firsts is a valuable encyclopedic work covering the Black experience in the United States from 1619, when Africans were brought to Jamestown, Va., as "involuntary laborers," through the Civil Rights Movement and to the ascendancy of Barack Obama, the country's first African-American president." Newark (NJ) Star Ledger
"An important addition to Black History Month booklists. From the early abolitionists to the presidential nomination of Barack Obama, the authors have gathered easy-to-read articles on the essential people, places, and events of the black struggle for freedom." School Library Journal
"Hundreds of entries describe in detail the important people, dates, events, and places of the African American experience. This reference work is very beneficial to students completing research and useful for all ages." VOYA
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Meet the Author
Jessie Carney Smith is a noted African American studies scholar and a professor of humanities at Fisk University. She is the author of Black Firsts and Black Heroes. Linda T. Wynn is the assistant director for state programs at the Tennessee Historical Commission and a professor of history at Fisk University. They both live in Nashville, Tennessee.
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