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July 12, 2024
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African-American History BooksBooksHistory booksThe QBR 100

Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America

before-the-mayflower-history-black-americaBefore the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett Jr. traces black history from its origins in western Africa, through the transatlantic journey that ended in slavery, the Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow era, and the civil rights upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in an exploration of the complex realities of African-American life in the 1990s.  The most recent scholarship on the geographic, social, economic, and cultural journeys of African Americans, together with vivid portraits of key Black leaders, complete this comprehensive reference.

“…one of the top 10 influential black books…Highly recommended.” — Black History 365, Volume Two Issue Two, Autumn 2008.

Before the Mayflower grew out of a series of articles Bennett published in Ebony magazine in 1962, regarding “the trials and triumphs of a group of Americans whose roots in the American soil are deeper than the roots of the Puritans who arrived on the celebrated Mayflower a year after a ‘Dutch man of war’ deposited twenty Negroes at Jamestown.” Bennett’s history is infused with a desire to set the record straight about the powerful African of antiquity.  While not a fresh history, it provides a solid synthesis of current historical research and a lively writing style that makes it accessible and engaging reading.  The book is comprehensive and detailed, providing little-known and often overlooked facts about the lives of Black folks through slavery, Reconstruction, America’s wars, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. The book includes a useful timeline and some fascinating archival images.” –Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books


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