"Before the Mayflower" traces black history from its origins in western Africa, through the transatlantic journey that ended in slavery, the Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow era, and the civil rights upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in an exploration of the complex realities of African-American life in the 1990s. Here is the most recent scholarship on the geographic, social, ethnic, economic, and cultural journey of "the other Americans, " together with vital portraits of black pioneers and seminal figures in the struggle for freedom, as well as additional material on historical developments in the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton years.
Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in the United States. Birthright Citizens recovers the story of how African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, Martha S. Jones explains, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights.
A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution's complex and contested involvement in slavery-setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country. But Brown's troubling past was far from unique. Craig Steven Wilder lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy. Many of America's revered colleges and universities-from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to Rutgers, Williams College, and UNC-were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color.
In this documentary history, black women themselves tell not only what it's like to be oppressed —as blacks and as women—but also how they have managed to survive. Here are stories of women who built a school "on a garbage dump"; of the little-known but vitally important networks of women's organizations dedicated to self-help and the struggle for human dignity; of the victims of the Ku Klux Klan, beatings and lynchings. The documents, many of them previously unpublished and long hidden in archives across the country, fill in important chapters in the history of America. "Dr. Lerner gives us material which can change images that whites have had of blacks, and possibly even those which we, as blacks, have of ourselves." -Maya Angelou, 'Life'
Beginning in the 1840s, black men and women heard the call to go west, migrating to California in search of gold, independence, freedom, and land to call their own. By the mid-1850s, a lively African American community had taken root in San Francisco. Churches and businesses were established, schools were built, newspapers were published, and aid societies were formed. For the next century, the history of San Francisco's African American community mirrored the nation's slow progress toward integration with triumphs and setbacks depicted in images of schools, churches, protest movements, business successes, and political struggles.
Strange Fruit Volume I is a collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity. Each of the nine illustrated chapters chronicles an uncelebrated African American hero or event. From the adventures of lawman Bass Reeves, to Henry "Box" Brown's daring escape from slavery.