This well-organized, highly detailed reference features information on more than one hundred holidays, festivals, and celebrations observed by African Americans. The book is arranged alphabetically by the name of the event. Each entry includes the date observed, location, a brief introduction including the purpose of the event, historical background, background on the creation of the event, its observance, organizer contacts, Web sites, and further reading. Many entries also feature sidebar information on potentially unfamiliar terms, people, and traditions related to the events. Sidebar topics include stepping, religious ceremonies, foods, and historical and cultural events. Nationwide, regional, and local events are included. The entries range from more than a dozen pages (for African American history month) to two to three pages for smaller local events. The appendixes are particularly useful, offering a cross-reference of the events included in the book in both monthly and geographic lists. Also included is a chronology of significant occurrences in African American history correlated to the events featured within. There is an extensive bibliography as well as additional contact information and Web site addresses for each organization hosting an event. Approximately one hundred photographs illustrate the festivals and the history that led to them. A treasure trove for students doing reports, the book will also be of great use to people of all ages with an interest in African American festivals and those planning vacations or trips to such events. This reference book is highly recommended and should be a well-used resource in school and public libraries.
This guide by Gay (Body Marks: Tattooing, Piercing and Scarification) contains highly accessible yet detailed explanations of more than 100 festivals and holidays celebrated by African Americans (e.g., Kwanzaa, Rosa Parks Day, Battle of Olustee Reenactment). Each A-to-Z entry is broken into easily digestible segments, e.g., historical development, regional observance, and national significance. Contemporary and period black-and-white photographs, which provide an invaluable key to recognizing relevant customs, symbols, and traditions, often accompany the text and will augment readers' understanding of it. Entries conclude with at least three subject-related publications as well as with contact organizations and web sites. Also included are a chronology and sources for further reading. The only guide of its kind; highly recommended for all cultural studies collections.
Savannah Schroll Guz