This update to the first, 1994 edition has been expanded by more than 1,000 firsts, arranged in 16 chapters. The chapters survey broad fields such as "Arts and Entertainment," "Government: Local," and "Science and Medicine" and are broken down into more specific subject headings. "Arts and Entertainment," for example, encompasses "Architecture," "Dance," "Music," and "Television," among others. Under each of these headings, firsts are arranged chronologically. Each is described in an entry ranging from a line or two to half a page, and sources are always cited.
New entries extend coverage into 2002 but also add pre-1992 firsts that did not appear in the previous edition. Although a new chapter documents accomplishments in international government, emphasis is on African Americans. Frequent sidebars add information ("Blacks Commemorated on Postage Stamps") as well as drawing attention to particular firsts ("The First Black Car Dealership"). Many of the sidebars highlight achievements by women, and the author notes in her introduction that she made a deliberate effort to seek our firsts by women for the revision. Missing from this edition is the useful index of major black achievements by year.
Black Firsts remains an important part of the reference collection, and school, public, and academic libraries will welcome this updated version. RBB
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About the Author
Jessie Carney Smith is a noted author, biographer, and black studies scholar. She is William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities at Fisk University in Nashville, where she also serves as the university librarian. Among Dr. Smith's numerous awards are the 1992 National Women's Book Association Award, the Candace Award for excellence in education, and Sage magazine's Ann J. Cooper Award for her published works on African American Women. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.