My Soul Looks Back, 'Less I Forget: A Collection of Quotations by People of Color

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9780062720573: My Soul Looks Back, 'Less I Forget: A Collection of Quotations by People of Color

Hailed by critics and selected as a Best Reference Source of 1993, this monumental book compiles more than 7,000 quotations by people of color.

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About the Author:

Dorothy W. Riley is the editor of a series of textbooks on African-American history. She lives in Detroit, MI.

From Booklist:

In this first collection of quotations of the words of African Americans and other people of color, compiler Riley has created a timely, fascinating, and useful resource that will satisfy the information needs of a variety of researchers. Riley, a former librarian and now principal in a Detroit elementary school, has culled literature, magazines, speeches, radio, television, historical documents, and other sources to provide more than 7,000 quotations from the time of Aesop to the present day. Individuals from all walks of life are represented, including clergy, politicians, musicians, writers, educators, doctors, and entertainers.

The book grew out of Riley's effort to find source material for Black History Month. She grew frustrated when her students could not find quotations from people of color to enliven their term papers. In her introduction, she writes, "despite my efforts and skills, I could only locate quotations by Martin Luther King Jr. James Baldwin, and Muhammed Ali. Not once in conventional reference anthologies did I find Paul Robeson, Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X, Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, and especially not David Walker."

The quotations are arranged alphabetically under 450 topics ranging from Ability to Youth, and under each topic, chronologically. Riley writes that this standard way of organizing quotations was used to "project a sense of history, as well as reveal the changing mood of our nation and the many ways of expressing feelings and thoughts over a period of time."

The source and date of each quotation are given. There are two indexes: by speaker or source and by subject. The latter index just repeats the subject headings under which the quotations are arranged and adds cross-references. There is no keyword index. A bibliography provides further reference to books used in the compilation of the quotations.

The book's format facilitates use, but the quality of the paper is poor. One wonders if it will survive the wear and tear that is surely to come from frequent use.

Given the increasing interest in multiculturalism, this book is a valuable addition to the reference literature and will be of interest to a wide variety of users, including scholars, speech makers, students, and librarians. Recommended for purchase by all types of libraries.

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