Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage

Susan Altman

Published by Checkmark Books, 2001
ISBN 10: 0816041261 / ISBN 13: 9780816041268
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Synopsis: Short entries describe places, political movements, cultures, events, and figures significant to African and African American history.

From Booklist: When the first edition of this title was published in 1997, we called it a "reasonably priced encyclopedia . . . recommended for school libraries and other small libraries that need an accessible source that is well-written." Coverage is still alphabetical, from Aaron, Henry to Zulu, with many brief articles of half a page or less and a few more lengthy ones, such as Black soldiers and Education. Included in this attractive volume are entries for some lesser-known subjects, such as Fort Pillow, the site of a massacre of black Union soldiers by Confederate troops in 1864, and Rosewood, a small Florida town that was destroyed during a race riot in 1923. However, coverage is somewhat inconsistent. Meant to chronicle "Africans who were captured" and their descendants, there is spotty treatment of modern African leaders and groups. Why include Dinka but not Hutu or Tutsi? Why no separate entry for Brown v. Board of Education but ones for Plessy v. Ferguson and Griffin v. Prince Edward County? Why Haiti but not Jamaica? Nowhere is there any information on the Spingarn Medal, historically black colleges, or the Delany sisters. Editing could be better--both the Apollo Theater and Melba Patillo's name are misspelled.

Updating from the previous edition includes revision of some articles (ranging from a sentence added to Achebe, Chinua to a substantial rewrite of Congo Free State ) and several new entries, among them Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Affirmative action; Criminal justice system, U.S.; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.; Hemings, Sally; Houston mutiny, and Red summer of 1919. Brief identifying phrases ("inventor," "jazz singer") have been added to biographies. There are some new photos and two new tables: a "Chronology of the Antislavery Movement in the United States" and "African-American Medal of Honor Recipients." Some entries are current to May 2000.

This one volume certainly doesn't compare to the comprehensive Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History (Macmillan, 1996), but it remains affordable and useful for libraries serving junior-high students and up. Although the first edition is only a few years old, libraries in which it has been heavily used should consider the update. REVWR
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Title: Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage
Publisher: Checkmark Books
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New
Edition: 2.

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