Voices of the African American Experience [3 volumes]

Voices of the African American Experience [3 volumes]

by Lionel C. Bascom
     
 

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From early accounts of free blacks in the Colonies to slave narratives recorded by Works Progress Administration employees in the 1930s to a recent speech by Senator Barack Obama, this collection offers a treasure trove of carefully selected primary documents from and concerning African Americans. It is among the largest and widest-ranging collection of documents

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Overview

From early accounts of free blacks in the Colonies to slave narratives recorded by Works Progress Administration employees in the 1930s to a recent speech by Senator Barack Obama, this collection offers a treasure trove of carefully selected primary documents from and concerning African Americans. It is among the largest and widest-ranging collection of documents on the entire African American experience in print. Voices of the African American Experience provides access to fresh voices from history until today in more than 130 documents. Examples include speeches, articles, mission statements, ephemera, testimony, letters, sermons, prayers, spirituals/songs, slave narratives, memoirs, essays, interviews, and more. Key official documents and important communications from noted African Americans are of course present, while making the words of ordinary African Americans from the past easily accessible to the general public. Each document is introduced and contextualized, making this set especially valuable and helpful in student research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Described by editor Bascom (A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an American Community) as 'a document collection, rather than a history,' this three-volume set forms an engaging compilation of narratives, speeches, sermons, and historical documents on the African American experience. Arranged chronologically, the 145 articles cover African American involvement in the Americas from 1600s to 2008, with Volume 1 ending shortly after Reconstruction, Volume 2 ending in the Great Depression, and Volume 3 culminating with president-elect Obama's election night speech in January 2009. . . . this work does a respectable job of pointing to some of the obstacles African Americans have had to overcome in the United States. Academic or public libraries that own To Make Our World Anew or TV shows such as the PBS video series Eyes on the Prize could use this as a companion." - Library Journal

"Voices of the African American Experience is a three-volume scholarly compendium of primary testimonies and sources of African-American history . . . offering an unparalleled glimpse into the lives of African-Americans during the past four hundred years, in their own words. . . . A thoroughly accessible resource sure to fascinate readers of all backgrounds, Voices of the African American Experience deserves the highest recommendation especially for public and college library collections." - Midwest Book Review - Wisconsin Bookwatch

"Editor Bascom (English, Western Connecticut State U.) has compiled a collection of documents that reflect the experiences of African Americans from their early days as an enslaved people to their eventual status as Americans. Spanning a time period beginning with the initial importation of slaves to the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia to 2008, this three-volume set includes almost 150 documents. The documents include relevant acts of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, correspondence, speeches, essays, interviews, and more. Authors range from Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams to James Baldwin and Al Sharpton. Entries are listed in chronological order and brief introductions place the entries in context. A substantial chronology of African American history also is included, as is a selected bibliography." - Reference & Research Book News

"Three volumes of text provide an exhaustive review of history through the inclusion of 145 documents that are presented in date order. Each entry includes a brief expository statement that provides framing and context for the reader. A substantial chronology precedes the entries, and a selected bibliography supplements the text. …Recommended for large public libraries, and smaller academic collections." - MultiCultural Review

"The majority of the selections in these volumes cannot be found with an online search; most are from non-digitized physical collections. And with the growing emphasis on the use of primary resources in schools, this set will be a valuable addition to a high school library. Public libraries whose patrons include historical or sociological researchers will also find it useful." - VOYA

"…this set will be an asset to reference collections in academic and public libraries. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students in American history, political science, and sociology; general readers." - Choice

"Bascom's work is an excellent addition to all public and academic library collections." - ARBA

"This wide-ranging survey will prove useful in high school, public and academic libraries." - Lawrence Looks at Books

VOYA - Cheryl Clark
This reference work collects writings that illustrate the African American experience for the last 250 years through voices both well-known—Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, Barack Obama—and obscure—Henry Bibb, Junie McCree, Will Lee—and through genres that range from eulogies to speeches to letters to poetry. Although these entries reveal the struggles of an oppressed people, they also provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of African Americans throughout history, such as W. E. B. DuBois's recollections of his students at all-black schools in rural Tennessee or a visit with pushcart peddlars during the 1930s. Brought together, these selections are mostly comprehensive, but oddly lacking is a detailed look at the civil rights movement. Copyright issues prevent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s writings or speeches from being included. The majority of the selections in these volumes cannot be found with an online search; most are from non-digitized physical collections. And with the growing emphasis on the use of primary resources in schools, this set will be a valuable addition to a high school library. Public libraries whose patrons include historical or sociological researchers will also find it useful. The depth of content, however, is probably too advanced for middle school readers and younger. The unattractive layout, with small print, no illustrations, and editor content that is sometimes not separated from the selection itself, means it is unlikely young adults will pick up these texts unless it is for an academic assignment. Reviewer: Cheryl Clark
Library Journal

Described by editor Bascom (A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an American Community) as "a document collection, rather than a history," this three-volume set forms an engaging compilation of narratives, speeches, sermons, and historical documents on the African American experience. Arranged chronologically, the 145 articles cover African American involvement in the Americas from 1600s to 2008, with Volume 1 ending shortly after Reconstruction, Volume 2 ending in the Great Depression, and Volume 3 culminating with president-elect Obama's election night speech in January 2009. While the set covers a range of events and time periods, African Americans' involvement in World Wars I and II seems to be overlooked. Further, speeches from Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan are excerpted, speeches from Martin Luther King Jr. are not. In addition, there are areas where the book seems to bog down in minutiae. While the voting rights act of 1965 is significant, devoting nine pages to a transcription of the act seems excessive. BOTTOM LINE Although it lacks the historical breadth of such books as Robin Kelly and Earl Lewis's To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans(Oxford Univ., 2000), this work does a respectable job of pointing to some of the obstacles African Americans have had to overcome in the United States. Academic or public libraries that own To Make Our World Anew or TV shows such as the PBS video series Eyes on the Prize could use this as a companion. Libraries already owning other materials on the subject may pass; buy where budgets permit.—James Langan, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib., Johnstown


—James Langan

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313343476
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/30/2009
Edition description:
3 Volume Set
Pages:
717
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 10.30(h) x 2.50(d)

Meet the Author

LIONEL C. BASCOM is Professor of Journalism at Western Connecticut State University and is the editor of A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Stories of an African Community (1999) as well as author of numerous other books and essays.

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