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From Barnes & NobleThe Schomburg Center Presents
The Schomburg, as it is commonly known, houses more than five million items relating to the history and culture of the African in America and throughout the Diaspora. It seems prudent and logical that so renowned an institution would offer a ready reference to the treasures found within its walls. Promoted as "the Ultimate Source for Essential Information about History, Culture, and Contemporary Life", The African American Desk Reference joins the five-volume Encyclopedia of the African American Culture (Macmillan) and the three-volume African American Almanac (Gale Research) as a concise and thorough one-volume compass to Africana culture.
The Desk Reference, divided into 18 category headings (chapters), offers a full scope of cultural history, expression, and experience: insights on Slavery and Freedom; Family Heritage; Science and Technology; Health; Religion; Literature and Language, and more. Family and Heritage, as example, offers an entertaining array of things we want to know, those nuggets of information that either support you efficiently in your research, or make you the Trivial Pursuit partner everybody wants.
Did you know that the black divorce rate has increased from 8.4 percent to 11.5 percent since 1980? Can you still sing "Miss Mary Mack"? Would you like a sweet potato pie?
As credit to the Schomburg, the Public Library, and the editors, the Desk Reference maintains an uncompromisingly positive tone. "In Toronto, West Indian newcomers (along with immigrants from Asia and Latin America) have helped to transform a staid, predominantly Anglo-Saxon city into a vibrant cosmopolitan center."
Under "What Africa Lost," the rape of Africa is identified as the European foothold to the domination of Africa. "Because most of the captives were males ages 14 to 30, who would have normally have been starting families...in some areas, sex ratio fell to a level of 60 men to each 100 women...Africa's relative weakness led to the onset of European colonialism." Used most recently by Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, depopulation has long been a tactic perquisite to occupation. Was slavery simply a profitable byproduct of a more heinous ulterior plan for Africa?
For those wanting to pursue study further, a valuable listing of sources for additional information anchors each chapter. The Schomburg continues to meet its mission.