Life upon these shores Looking at African American history, 1513-2008

Henry Louis Gates

Book - 2011

"Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated, landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama. Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship, and including more than eight hundred images--ancient maps, art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters--Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes ...us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop on to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single "Black Experience." Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2011.
Language
English
Physical Description
xvi, 487 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780307593429
0307593428
Main Author
Henry Louis Gates (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Four hundred years of public records and private collections went into the creation of this survey of African American history from well before the slave trade that would swell the black population of the New World to the election of the first black U.S. president. Gates begins with the little-known history of free black conquistadors, including Juan Garrido, who accompanied Ponce de León on his first expedition to Florida. Gates documents the famous, the obscure, and the long forgotten, from exploration to slavery to the Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction to the world wars to the Great Migration and the Great Depression to the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age to the civil rights and black-power movements to the hip-hop generation. Maps, posters, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and postcards add to the appeal of this chronicle of the pressing issues and events of each generation and the incredible diversity covered by the appellation African American. A tour de force of African American history. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Gates directs the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. This volume is an excellent example of Gates's ability to maintain high standards of scholarship while making a broad, dense subject accessible to a modern audience. This incredibly comprehensive history begins African life in America in 1513 with a free black conquistador who accompanied Ponce de Leon, and concludes with Barack Obama's presidential election in 2008. Amazingly, Gates manages to capture well-known figures and events as well as the not so well known. And he covers the diverse spectrum of black American politics, art, literature, religion, sports, and popular culture. The book is richly illustrated with maps, woodcuts, line drawings, cartoons, color photographs, and daguerreotypes; there is some type of picture on each page. Much of the history presented here is "familiar in the academy"; however, it will be new to many general readers, and as Gates writes in his introduction, he intends this book to be "a general history for a general audience." A remarkable accomplishment that should endure through many editions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. D. W. Bilal Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Copyright 2012 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Of course you trust Gates, Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, to deliver an indelible (near-definitive?) history of African Americans ranging from the conquistadores to President Barack Obama. Fresh scholarship and more than 800 images, plus a 60,000-copy first printing; important for most collections. [Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

With nearly 900 illustrations (formal portraits, news photos, historic lithographs, broadsides, flyers, posters, newspaper clippings, advertisements) complemented by a succinct but informing text, Harvard professor Gates (Black in Latin America) provides a visual sojourn through African-American history, a generally upbeat march from Juan Garrido, accompanying Cortés in 1519, to Barack Obama taking the presidential oath in 2008. Gathered in this chronologically arranged compendium, with its focus on the accomplishments and moments of achievement in the African-American community, is a wealth of materials about the historical, political, social, literary, and scientific events influencing American social and political culture. Scant attention is paid to the oft-told tale of plantation slavery, although the devastations wrought upon the African-American community are not neglected: "the infamous Middle Passage," Fort Pillow massacre, the convict lease system, the Tulsa race riot, the Tuskegee syphilis study, the police attack on the Selma marchers, Hurricane Katrina. The familiar and famous are in Gates's encyclopedic reach, but so are the less known and nearly forgotten. (How hard it is today to imagine that a 1950 photograph of Billy Eckstein with "white female fans" could be "revolutionary.") "Although we cannot change the past," Gates observes in one entry, "we can change how we remember it." In this sumptuous volume, Gates assembles an affirming, illuminating, and needed tribute. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard presents a sumptuously illustrated chronicle of more than 500 years of African-American history that focuses on defining events, debates and controversies as well as important achievements of famous and lesser-known figures, in a volume complemented by reproductions of ancient maps and historical paraphernalia. (This title was previously list in Forecast.)

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated, landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama. Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship, and including more than eight hundred images--ancient maps, art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters--Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop on to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single "Black Experience." Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Presents an illustrated chronicle of more than five hundred years of African-American history that focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies as well as important achievements of famous and lesser-known figures.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama. Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship and including more than seven hundred images—ancient maps, fine art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters—Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the signal achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single “black experience.”Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination.