Jessie Carney Smith is a noted author, biographer, and black studies scholar. She is William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities at Fisk University in Nashville, where she also serves as university librarian. Her books include Black Heroes, Notable Black American Women (Volumes I and II), and Notable Black American Men. Dr. Smith is a recipient of the National Women’s Book Association Award, the Candace Award for excellence in education, and Sage magazine’s Ann J. Cooper Award for her published works on African American women.
Black Firsts: Groundbreaking Events in African American Historyby Jessie Carney Smith
First published in 1994, Black Firsts sold more than 60,000 copies, inspiring readers of all ages. An epic record of African American achievement, it testified to a rich but often overlooked part of our history. Jessie Carney Smith, William and Camille Cosby Professor of the Humanities at Fisk University, greatly expands the new edition with more than 1,000 new stories of a people overcoming adversity to emerge triumphant, including the recent successes of modern-day pioneers like Suzan-Lori Parks (winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama and Vonetta Flowers, the first African American to be awarded the Winter Olympic gold medal. Dr. Smith has revised and extended existing entries, capturing more of the remarkable episodes of discipline, will, transcendence, and belated recognition.
"For people who have been systematically excluded from the mainstream of a society," wrote educator Johnnetta B. Cole in the foreword to the first edition, "it is especially important to remember and celebrate those who have won personal victories against the forces arrayed against them." A vital collection of amazing scholarship, Black Firsts, is proof that the celebration is ongoing.
Readers will revel in the stories of barrier-breaking pioneers in all fields-arts, entertainment, business, civil rights, education, government, inventing, journalism, religion, science, sports, and more. And they will rejoice in their triumphs. With hundreds of illustrations and a daily calendar of firsts, Black Firsts is the culmination of many hours of work, courage, and perseverance, the exact qualities represented within.
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