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Black Americans 17th Century to 21st Century: Black Struggles and Successes
by John H. Jordan

A collection of hundreds of miniature biographies about the African Americans who helped shape the United States of America, Black Americans 17th Century to 21st Century: Black Struggles and Successes by John H. Jordan recounts the triumphs and tragedies of those who endured hardships and those who overcame the obstacles they faced as America changed from century to century. Beginning with a few opening pieces including ‘Black American’s History,’ ‘Obama’s Early Years,’ ‘Illinois and Black Americans,’ and ‘The Great Migration,’ which set the scene and tone of the material to follow, the people whose lives are explored within this book are grouped together by time periods, achievements, movements, and other categories. Similar pieces about other topics like ‘Racism in the United States of America’ and ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ are peppered throughout the biographies. Those who lived during slavery, the civil rights movement, and other criteria are given biographies. Many of the individuals are well known, such as Jackie Robinson, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr., while others like Arthur Wergs Mitchell, the first Black-American elected to U.S. Congress as a Democrat, and Mary Eliza Mahoney, first Black-American to work as a professionally trained nurse, may not be as familiar to readers. Regardless, all of those profiled have lived lives of note.

Coming in at over six hundred pages, Jordan has amassed a great amount of knowledge to share about the lives of Black Americans. When reading this book, it is obvious all of the research that he has done on the countless number of lives that are chronicled within the pages he has put together. The articles intertwined with the accounts of people’s lives are a nice touch that help readers remember the history that these people lived through. The only thing missing is an alphabetical index that could assist readers in finding that certain person they are looking for even more quickly. This would be a great book for teachers to take advantage of when teaching about African American History Month.

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