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Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America (1962)

de Lerone Bennett

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The black experience in America, starting from its origins in Western Africa up to 1961, is examined in this seminal study from a prominent African American figure. The entire historical timeline of African Americans is addressed, from the Colonial period through the civil rights upheavals of the late 1950s to 1961, the time of publication. Before the Mayflower grew out of a series of articles Bennett published in Ebony magazine regarding the trials and triumphs of a group of Americans whose roots in the American soil are deeper than the roots of the Puritans who arrived on the celebrated Mayflower a year after a "Dutch man of war" deposited 20 Negroes at Jamestown. Bennett's history is infused with a desire to set the record straight about black contributions to the Americas and about the powerful Africans of antiquity. While not a fresh history, it provides a solid synthesis of current historical research and a lively writing style that makes it accessible and engaging listening. After discussing the contributions of Africans to the ancient world, Before the Mayflower tells the history of the other Americans, how they came to America, and what happened to them when they got here. The audiobook is comprehensive and detailed, providing little-known and often-overlooked facts about the lives of black folks through slavery, Reconstruction, America's wars, the Great Depression, and the civil rights movement.… (mais)
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Exibindo 5 de 5
A little dated since it only goes up to 1962, but it made me astonished how much was left out of history class. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Aug 17, 2020 |
This well-written book tells the story of black Americans from before the settlement of the Plymouth Colony to the late 20th century. It is a story of suffering and despair, struggle and hope, achievements and setbacks, lynching and community self-defense and Christian fortitude and stoicism. It is a broad history that includes necessarily the relationship with white America, both North and South, but also African beginnings and the impact of the international context, which begins to bear on domestic race relations with the end of colonialism and the competition of the United States with the Soviet Union for the moral high ground in the 20th century. Along the way we learn of the roles of famous black Americans and the white Americans who were their allies as well as the part played by the black “masses”, especially during the Civil War in ending slavery and in the Great Migration and protests of the 20th century. The central theme is the continuing struggle of African-Americans towards freedom and equality and the numerous setbacks along the way. It often seems that when the prospects are darkest, and African-Americans are becoming most despairing, progress suddenly occurs from an unexpected source, such as the end of slavery when the South brought the Civil War upon itself in its ambitions to protect and grow the institution of slavery. And direct action in the 1960s dealt a body blow to segregation at a time when in many ways it was reaching its pinnacle of development (despite the growing number of court decisions striking down such laws). It tells of how entrenched minority interests would encourage racism as a technique to divide and conquer the majority of the population who in actuality shared the same goals, such as in undermining the achievements of Black Reconstruction. The book also relates how at despairing times when the prospects for African Americans seemed most grim, the appeal of black nationalism would wax, with the goals of separateness or even departure from the United States as the preferred solutions. This book is an excellent narrative of the history of slavery and its progeny over almost 400 years of American history. It should go without saying that every American should be aware of this history and its continued presence with us today. This history is a testimony to the human spirit and its refusal to accept injustice. When in the thick of civil rights battles, African-American leaders were asked by their opponents what they wanted, they would reply they wanted the implementation of the US Constitution. ( )
  drsabs | Mar 17, 2019 |
An excellent one volume source of the history of Black people in America ( )
  limodriver | May 27, 2014 |
A pioneering work in African-American history, and still very useful. ( )
2 vote ostrom | Nov 25, 2007 |
The black experience in America—starting from its origins in western Africa up to the present day—is examined in this seminal study from a prominent African American figure. The entire historical timeline of African Americans is addressed, from the Colonial period through the civil rights upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. The most recent scholarship on the geographic, social, economic, and cultural journeys of African Americans, together with vivid portraits of key black leaders, complete this comprehensive reference.
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2 vote | CollegeReading | Feb 13, 2008 |
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The black experience in America, starting from its origins in Western Africa up to 1961, is examined in this seminal study from a prominent African American figure. The entire historical timeline of African Americans is addressed, from the Colonial period through the civil rights upheavals of the late 1950s to 1961, the time of publication. Before the Mayflower grew out of a series of articles Bennett published in Ebony magazine regarding the trials and triumphs of a group of Americans whose roots in the American soil are deeper than the roots of the Puritans who arrived on the celebrated Mayflower a year after a "Dutch man of war" deposited 20 Negroes at Jamestown. Bennett's history is infused with a desire to set the record straight about black contributions to the Americas and about the powerful Africans of antiquity. While not a fresh history, it provides a solid synthesis of current historical research and a lively writing style that makes it accessible and engaging listening. After discussing the contributions of Africans to the ancient world, Before the Mayflower tells the history of the other Americans, how they came to America, and what happened to them when they got here. The audiobook is comprehensive and detailed, providing little-known and often-overlooked facts about the lives of black folks through slavery, Reconstruction, America's wars, the Great Depression, and the civil rights movement.

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