Marable and Mullings's collection takes in examples of African American social and political writing over the last three centuries. The anthology's first section, covering the years 1789 to 1865, opens with an excerpt from Nigeria-born Olaudah Equiano's memoir of slavery, which became a key document in the abolitionist movement; the section includes passages from writings and testimonials by Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass, among others. The second section visits the era of reconstruction and the emergent nationalist and civil rights movements, with contributions from Booker T. Washington, William Monroe Trotter, W.E.B. Du Bois, and others. The third and fourth sections address the relocation of African Americans from predominantly rural settings to the industrial centers of the Northeast and Midwest, a time of revolutionary and artistic ferment, while the fifth section takes readers to the present, guided by the remarks of Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and other contemporary thinkers.
Much of this material is relatively well known, but many pieces have not been gathered elsewhere, making the anthology especially useful to students seeking diverse points of view. --Gregory McNamee