Noted historian Nell Irvin Painter goes back even further than the days of the covered wagon with Creating Black Americans: African American History and Its Meanings: 1619 to the Present. Painter blends striking visual depictions with extensive analysis, covering everything from the extent of the African slave trade in North and South America to slavery in the U.S., Reconstruction, and the emergence and development of black culture, politics, economics and community life. She blends candid photos, stills and action shots of key community leaders and hard-working regular folks by artists ranging from Romare Bearden to Kara Walker, and her descriptive portraits are equally diverse, including familiar figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and lesser-known names such as Olaudah Equiano (one of the first African slaves able to record his own account of captivity). Exhaustive yet easily understood and digested,Creating Black Americans supplies plenty of knowledge without ever becoming pedantic or dry.

Ron Wynn writes for the Nashville City Paperand other publications.

comments powered by Disqus