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African-American Alphabet: A Celebration of African-American and West Indian Culture, Custom, Myth, and Symbol Hardcover – February, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In A-to-Z format, one entry for each letter of the alphabet, and each entry several pages long, the authors use key words to launch themselves on wide-ranging discussions of major traditions found in the common-linked cultures of Africa, black America, and the Caribbean. Entries range from "Amistad," the name of a slave ship involved in an important legal case in which captives intended for slavery were set free, to "Zion," a concept that was "for the African-American slave, a dream, a rhythm, a way of life where there was no suffering." In addition to a full commentary in each entry on the specific topic at hand and its relevance to black history and legends, the authors supply accompanying illustrations and lyrics of spirituals, poems, quotes from personal recollections, and other excerpted material to give additional dimension to their presentations. Not simply a book to have fun with, but also one to learn from. Brad Hooper
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (February 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312139195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312139193
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,774,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gerald Hausman is the author of more than 70 books. His live storytelling has been praised by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, History Channel, and the Bank Street College of Education. He and his wife have received numerous awards in the field of children's literature.

"As a writer I have often been called a scribe. This is because in the gathering of oral tales, I have always tried to get the story right. To capture the flavor, the region and the moral as the original storyteller gave it to me. The NYT Book Review called my collection of American Indian stories, Tunkashila 'an eloquent tribute to the first great storytellers of America.'"

In addition to his 22 years of story gathering and telling in New Mexico, Gerald also spent 13 summers on the island of Jamaica where he ran an informal writing school with his wife, Lorry. Together they collected Anansi stories, stories from and about the Kebra Nagast, and traditional West Indian ghost stories.

"I remember when History Channel filmed tales from my book "Duppy Talk". My best friend Roy was not an actor, but because of his handsome face he was cast as the man who was enchanted by a mermaid. When I saw him on film, I asked Roy how he was able to do the underwater scene and keep that look of astonishment when he saw the made-up mermaid smiling on the river bank. He told me, 'That look on my face comes from the fact I can't swim. I was very scared.'"

Gerald teaches writing workshops in various parts of the United States and is most recently the author of "The American Storybag" -- 40 years of story gathering on and off the road. He lives on a barrier island in Florida.

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