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Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations: 5,000 Years of Literature, Lyrics, Poems, Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs from Voices Around the World [Kindle Edition]

Retha Powers , Henry Louis Gates
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $40.00
Kindle Price: $16.99
You Save: $23.01 (58%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
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Book Description

A comprehensive, all-new collection bringing together the most thoughtful, inspiring, and wisest voices from the Black diaspora across history.

BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR BLACK QUOTATIONS paints a rich canvas of Black history through time. Five thousand quotes are culled from the time of Ancient Egypt through American slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Era, Apartheid, to the present day. With a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and passages from authors, artists, scientists, philosophers, theologians, activists, politicians, and many others, BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR BLACK QUOTATIONS will appeal not only to quote aficionados and researchers, but also to history buffs. Aesop's Fables and the Holy Bible are in the same company as Nelson Mandela and President Obama; Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison; Bob Marley and Jay-Z. A wonderful reference tool and gift, BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR BLACK QUOTATIONS is sure to follow in the footsteps of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, becoming a beloved authority.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Nearly 5,000 quotes from black activists, artists, authors, politicians, theologians, and more are offered here, in the traditional Bartlett’s format (arranging speakers chronologically by year of birth, no annotations). Editor Powers has made the selections from diverse sources such as African proverbs, the Bible, song lyrics, and quotes from famous men and women of all time periods. As noted in the preface, many of the quotes “illuminate and debate what blackness is and what it means to be human.” There is an index of authors and an extensive and detailed keyword index. This useful and hefty source is recommended for all collections. --Rebecca Vnuk


"An impressively researched and documented collection of the finest thought produced by writers throughout the African Diaspora. A magnificent achievement." --Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"It is not only the most comprehensive book of quotations from black thinkers over some 5,000 years of recorded history, but it also possesses something no other book of quotations quite does: a potent and sweeping narrative arc. It is possible to consume this book avidly from end to end."--Dwight Garner, New York Times

"A meaty, motley collection...The more time I spent with the book, the more deeply I was drawn."--Gene Demby, NPR


"[A] venerable reference work."--Huffington Post

"If you want a snapshot of who we are and why, this is where to look."--Jeff Glor, CBS This Morning

"Because it is one of the handful of reference staples that patrons are likely to ask for by name, no self-respecting library should be without it."--Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 1413 KB
  • Print Length: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (December 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #554,760 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Familiar and Unfamiliar Gems November 23, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Imagine a refrigerator full of delicious items. Each time you take one out, another luscious item appears. There is no doubt in my mind that editor Retha Powers has culled the most important, revealing, and often humorous musings from the black experience. This collection should grace every bookshelf. A perfect gift for friends.
"Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home." Bill Cosby
"Pigeonholing is interesting only for pigeons." Jesseye Norman
And the list goes on!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap binding for a reference book December 2, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was excited to order this book and am enjoying the content, but as a former book critic I must protest the bookmaking. A reference book as I hope to enjoy for years to come should be well made, and this book has cheap paper that is not pleasant to the touch as well as a glued spine for a very thick volume. Surely it will not hold up well in libraries. I'm looking forward to more exploration of the content, but one might consider a kindle version, since you are not getting your money's worth for the hard copy edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection January 6, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Due to the exhaustive index, this is an excellent source for quick research, as well as dip-in-and-out browsing. Most buyers will assume that it is a collection of quotations from authors somehow identified as "black," and those authors do fill out much of the book, but it is actually much more than that: a book about the experience of blackness, by implication, whiteness, and ultimately, therefore, humanity in all its richness.

No doubt as time goes on, and further editions appear, there will be changes in the selections included. Some are quite lengthy, and could be trimmed to permit the inclusion of materials that continue to appear. Meanwhile, this book belongs in every educated home, no matter what color the occupants and their walls happen to be painted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift January 19, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gave as Xmas gift to several friends and family and everyone loved it! Great resource for everyone. Great for your library
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great gift March 19, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
was the perfect gift for a close friend, almost limitless information in it. She really likes it (I ran out of things to say a while ago, but the form prefers quantity over quality)
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4.0 out of 5 stars An important compendium December 31, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a substantial work full of wonderful things. Its organization however is not immediately clear and there are inclusions (e.g., Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a British romantic poet of the nineteenth century) that are a bit mysterious. (Did Coleridge have an African ancestor?) There is an entire Obama section which is fascinating, although exactly why this is set off from the other sections is also not clear (yes, of course, he is currently the president and the first African American president).
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5.0 out of 5 stars VERY COMPREHENSIVE!! WELL COMPOSED!! December 28, 2013
What a joy to see not only intellectual quotes but some that a shyer editor may not have included. This volume is a delight to casually read when i have a few moments and to have handy as a reference manual. I am sure it will be on the main shelf for years. thank you for such well composed and thorough work. I hope Mrs Powers can find another subject as worthy as this for her next focus of excellent energy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Useful & Relevant American Reference Book November 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the most enlightening, relevant and genuinely useful reference books I've purchased in a long time. Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations has also been a great resource for my college son's humanities and history classes. It continues to provide a lot of cultural and historical clarity and context about the American history I thought I knew well. A very welcomed edition to my home library.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent source of information and the quotes are right on ...
Excellent source of information and the quotes are right on target. I refer to this book whenever I need an exceptional quote!!!
Published 7 months ago by CC
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary
it is the book everyone of all races should have on their bookshelf somewhere near the bible. i think it should exposed to all children and use as a resource for many projects to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Veronica Cato
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanted for Reference
It's a great reference book to have around and a good addition to our library. WHY must I write only your required number of words? I will write what I please thank you very much.
Published 11 months ago by Lauretta J.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!!!
Great book!!!! A must have for students, preachers and anyone who speaks to audiences. Thank You Amazon and Ms. Powers. This book will become a family heirloom.
Published 12 months ago by Bulldoginjax
2.0 out of 5 stars Not yet sure
Was very excited to get this book but after reading through, I know I have to find it,s best purpose
Published 16 months ago by Ralph M. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have! Great conversation starter!
This book is chocked full of great information. I recommend it highly for those fascinated with African American history. I gave copies as Christmas gifts. Worth every penny!
Published 16 months ago by Florence S. Penn
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!
This is a meticulously researched resource that you can read for the pure joy of it -- for history, humor, song lyrics, quotes from poetry and plays. It's a beautiful book!
Published 16 months ago by Janet
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary addition to any library.
Brings history to life through memorable quotes from brilliant thinkers. Also, beckons a walk down memory lane sparked by catchy pop-culture prose.
Published 16 months ago by cozycorner reader
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More About the Author

Retha Powers is editor of Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations, the anthology, Black Silk: A Collection of African American Erotica and co-editor of This is My Best: Great Writers Share Their Favorite Work.

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