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100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia Hardcover – March 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573929638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573929639
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,325,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Asante, professor in the African American Studies program at Temple University, has written a volume in which he attempts to distill his work on the history of African Americans into a list of the 100 greatest people in that history--a difficult task to be sure, and one that can lead to arguments over the choices. Whether one feels Barbara Jordan would make a better choice than Shirley Chisholm, or that Matthew Gaines was a stronger educator than John Russwurm, it is hard to disagree with the people who Asante chose to highlight. He explains his choices in the introduction and makes it very clear that he left out numerous current popular people because he feels the hype around the pop persona is not what makes an individual important. He makes no attempt to rank the people he selected because he viewed that as an impossible task, so arrangement is alphabetical. A short bibliography lists material for further research.

The 100 people who are included range from former slaves such as Crispus Attucks and Phillis Wheatley to more contemporary individuals such as Amiri Baraka and Toni Morrison. Among others are sports figures Jesse Owens and Tiger Woods, performers Marian Anderson and Bill Cosby, and political activists Marcus Garvey and Jesse Jackson. Each portrait covers two to four pages that summarize the person's life, work, and importance and is accompanied by a black-and-white photograph or illustration. There is enough variety so that students with assignments will have no trouble focusing on someone in their area of interest.

Most of the 100 are covered in other reference sources, but this volume offers a reasonably priced, easy-to-digest collection of articles. Recommended for school and public library collections. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"...serves as a reference for scholars and an inspiration to the general reader." -- Reference and Research Book News, February, 2003

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Hubbard on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Absolutely phenomenal. Molefi Asante does a brilliant job in describing and praising the lives of each of the people that he profiles in this book. In order to not love his work in this book, you would have to be coming from a place of foolishness and hatred to begin with. As the previous reviewer obviously was.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the worst writings I have ever read. The author begins each bio with bad prose, extolling the virtue and greatness of the person to be described. It's actually an insult to the 100 African Americans listed, as though their acts were not really great enough to stand on their own by simply describing what they accomplished. Rather, the author must first wax poetic (badly) about how wonderful they were before even telling you what they accomplished. Was there not enough that could be said about their deeds to fill a book without pages of useless filler?

If anyone knows of a really good book of mini biographies of great Black Americans I would appreciate your telling me about it. Because I'd love to read their stories. Unfortunately, I could not read about those accomplishments in this book. It made me gag.
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