Few books in the history of publishing have proved so useful and long-lasting as this pioneering work in the popular history of African Americans. The first edition appeared in 1956, on the eve of the civil rights revolution. A highly original attempt to portray a crucial but long-neglected part of the American past, it soon became a standard work on black history. Its rich variety of more than 1,300 illustrations -- paintings, drawings, cartoons, prints, posters, broadsides, daguerreotypes, photographs, sheet music covers, title pages, and stills from television and films -- brings home to readers young and old the look and feel of the dynamic past.
This sixth edition captures the changes on the national scene that have influenced African American life during the Reagan-Bush years and the first stages of the Clinton administration. The new text and photographs illuminate social, economic, political, and cultural trends. The authors discuss government and politics, civil rights, arts and letters, sports, labor and employment, schools, the church, and the mass media, highlighting the role of black leaders who have come to the fore in recent years.
Langston Hughes made innumerable contributions to American and world literature and culture. His poems, plays, novels, short stories, and librettos earned him many honors, beginning in the 1920s when he became a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. By the time of his death in 1967, his work had deeply influenced writers not only at home, but in Africa, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. One of the most original of black poets, he became known as the poet laureate of his people.
Milton Meltzer, historian and biographer, is the author of more than eighty books for adults and young people. His work includes Black Magic: A Pictorial History of the African American in the Performing Arts (with Langston Hughes); Slavery: A World History; Frederick Douglass: In His Own Words; The Black Americans: In Their Own Words; and biographies of Langston Hughes and Mary McLeod Bethune. Among the many honors for his books are five nominations for the National Book Award.