The bestselling, definitive study of African Americans throughout American history, now with a new introduction by noted scholar V. P. Franklin In The Negro in the Making of America, eminent historian Benjamin Quarles provides one of the most comprehensive and readable accounts ever gathered in one volume of the role that African Americans have played in shaping the destiny of America. Starting with the arrival of the slave ships in the early 1600s and moving through the Colonial period, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and into the last half of the twentieth century, Quarles chronicles the sweep of events that have brought blacks and their struggle for social and economic equality to the forefront of American life. Through compelling portraits of central political, historical, and artistic figures such as Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Duke Ellington, Malcolm X, and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Quarles illuminates the African American contributions that have enriched the cultural heritage of America. This classic history also covers black participation in politics, the rise of a black business class, and the forms of discrimination experienced by blacks in housing, employment, and the media. Quarles’s groundbreaking work not only surveys the role of black Americans as they engaged in the dual, simultaneous processes of assimilating into and transforming the culture of their country, but also, in a portrait of the white response to blacks, holds a mirror up to the deeper moral complexion of our nation’s history. The restoration of this history holds a redemptive quality — one that can be used, in the author’s words, as a “vehicle for present enlightenment, guidance, and enrichment.”
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