- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Schomburg Center Presents
"New York...just like ah pictured it...skyscrapers and everythang," marveled Stevie Wonder in his song "Living for the City." The Great Migration was a 30-year-long mass migration from the predominantly rural, segregated South to the West and to the industrial North. That black tide swelled urban populations to the hundreds of thousands, bringing down-home living up North. And so began another chapter in the saga of The Black New Yorkers.
The Black New Yorkers, compiled and edited by the staff of the Schomburg Center, is the posthumous culmination of work begun 30 years ago by librarian/activist Regina M. Andrews. The book is dedicated to her vision and "commitment to telling the world about the unique and extraordinary role of black New Yorkers in the making of America's greatest city." What follows is a rich historical and pictorial chronicle of African-American advances, struggles, and successes. The text is arranged chronologically, beginning with "Blacks in Colonial New York: 1613-1783" and ending with "Mobilizing Black Power for the New Millennium: 1965-1999." Each chapter opens with an informative essay that places the instructive historical timelines within a social context.
The introduction raises interesting (and wholly debatable) questions, especially around the issue of diverse influences, and the editors tread on some tender ground. There is no doubt, for instance, that the Latino language has been Anglicized by American acculturation (hence "Spanglish"), but to claim that Afro-Latinos "have added a black flavor to the Spanish they speak" may be a bit of a cultural stretch. To the English Latinos speak, yes. However, Blackspeak has yet to find its way into the Spanish colloquial vocabulary. In New York, cultural pride is still a touchy subject. (Friendly) debate notwithstanding, The Black New Yorkers is a well-documented, pride-swelling testimony to the creative, resilient, and irrepressible spirit of African New York.
The closing section of brief, well-written bibliographies—The New York Black 100—is a who's who of path-breakers, pundits, and cultural prophets who have spoken for black America. The Schomburg continues to meet its mission.