- Series: Special -Reference
- Hardcover: 797 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (January 16, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815323093
- ISBN-13: 978-0815323099
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.6 x 11.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,641,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations (Special -Reference) 1st Edition
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Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations purports to be "the most comprehensive reference work illustrating the rich history of these associations and their leaders that has been published." The 576 signed entries, written by 184 scholars from Europe and the U.S., are arranged alphabetically by association name. Entries range in length from one paragraph to several pages, with a bibliography at the end of each to facilitate further reading. There are occasional black-and-white photographs. Each entry traces the "origins, goals, founders, membership, staff, activities, achievements, failures, and demise of " the featured association. The book hopes to shed new light on the way African American organizations influenced the struggle for black equality in an often racially exclusionary country.
Both historical and contemporary organizations established by African Americans are included in this book, as are interracial organizations and groups working in the interest of African Americans. The focus of these groups is diverse and includes youth, religion, civil rights, labor, athletics, education, health, welfare, and the arts. Although some smaller groups or more short-lived organizations are excluded, most of the well-known organizations appear to be included, though it may be surprising that the National Urban Coalition and National Association for Black Veterans, for example, are not represented. Important cities with significant black populations also get their own entries, in which local civic, literary, and mutual aid associations are discussed.
There is an index in the back of the book, but coverage appears to be somewhat arbitrary. If relying on the index to locate information on James Farmer, for example, one will be led to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission entry and the Fellowship for Reconciliation entry, where he is only incidentally mentioned, but will not be led to the Congress of Racial Equality, which he helped found. Further indexing whims include the fact that the index neglects Jewell Jackson McCabe, though McCabe is discussed as being the founder of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; furthermore, the index does not include the Friendly Society of St. Thomas, discussed in the Philadelphia entry. There are cross-references leading from the logical alphabetical placement of an entry to the actual entry. This aids searching for associations with various name incarnations, but, unfortunately, concepts (such as "Black Freemasonry" See "Prince Hall Masons") are not included.
The scope of this encyclopedia is unparalleled. The closest competitor, The African American Almanac (Gale, 1997), only lists a small number of organizations. Organizing Black America excludes contact information for current organizations because "organizations frequently change headquarters." There are other directories that give contact information on current organizations, such as the Black Americans Information Directory (Gale, 1998), but these only offer minimal descriptive information. Organizing Black America provides detailed information on defunct organizations that were, until now, spread across sundry historical books and African American biographies.
All public and academic libraries with patrons interested in African American history will find Organizing Black America a worthwhile purchase. The price is a little steep, but most of the coverage is not duplicated in other reference sources. Although the indexing and cross-references could be stronger, the "further readings" lists are valuable, time-saving reference tools. The entries are scholarly in content yet should be clear to both the general reader and African American history scholar. REVWR
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"This encyclopedia is an essential work and is highly recommended for all libraries."
-"American Reference Books Annual, 2002
"An alphabetically arranged collection of 576 signed articles, each of which discusses the history, key players, achievements, and even failures of the featured association. This extensive work will enhance any library's African American history collection."
-"The New York Public Library selection, The Best of Reference from 2001, April 2002
"This is a unique reference....Fact filled and accessible, this book will be useful for both public and academic libraries."
-"Against the Grain, November 2001
"The most comprehensive volume documenting the history of associations established by African Americans in the United States. It's a one-of-a-kind publication.... An excellent reference work. I recommend it for all medium-sized to large academic and public libraries."
-"Reference & User Services Quarterly, Summer 2001
"The scope of this encyclopedia is unparalleled.... "Organizing Black America provides detailed information on defunct organizations that were, until now, spread across sundry historical books and African American biographies. All public and academic libraries with patrons interested in African American history will find [this book] a worthwhile purchase.... Most of the coverage is not duplicated in other reference sources... The entries are scholarly in content yet should be clear to both the general reader and the African American history scholar."
-"Booklist/RBB, August 2001
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Anyway, onto the point: this is a fantastic resource for the joiners and the students of associations and organizations. It's a huge, 700+ page volume with lots and lots of Black organizations of the past and present. The usual suspects are there like the fraternities and sororities, the Links, NCNW (with a lengthy entry), National Urban League, NSBE, and so many more. There are also entries for organizations I had never heard of, like the National Student Association, the Potomac Institute, and more.
The book is invaluable, but there are some omissions, like Frontiers International and Delta Phi Upsilon (the first fraternity for gay black men). There are also no mentions of many other smaller fraternities and sororities, but the more well-known professional ones are listed, like Chi Eta Phi and Iota Phi Lambda.
All in all, I was quite pleased with this purchase and I imagine using it for years to come.