Hard Road to Freedom tells the story of African America from its African roots to the political and social upheavals at the end of the twentieth century. It interweaves the experiences of individual black Americans with an analysis of the nation's pursuit of its fundamental principles, of freedom, and civil rights. The book begins with African cultures and the African people who withstood the horrors of the slave trade and slavery to help shape a new multiracial society in North America. The American Revolution brought freedom to some, but most remained in the grip of slavery. African Americans and their allies continually raised the cry for freedom, building determined black communities and dedicated antislavery organizations that contributed to the abolition of slavery. The precarious freedom after the Civil War brought new opportunities, but also new dangers and the limitations of Jim Crow. The wars and the depression in the early twentieth century found black Americans forging new alliances, creating a cultural renaissance, and fighting for democracy and freedom abroad. At home, they struggled against the denials of freedom and citizenship that still barred their full participation and that tarnished America's standing in the eyes of the international community. Throughout the social and political turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s and the political and cultural backlash that followed, African Americans continued to raise their voices in often eloquent and always insistent appeals that the nation live up to the promise of its principles. This book tells of America's unsteady advance along the road to freedom, the triumphs and hope, as well as the failures and despair, from the vantage point of the African Americans who resolutely played a critical role in that story.