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An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America's leading Black writers. Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins wi An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America's leading Black writers. Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins with the arrival of twenty enslaved Ndongo people on the shores of the British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. In eighty chronological chapters, the book charts the tragic and triumphant four-hundred-year history of Black American experience in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty. Contributors include some of the best-known scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America who together bring to vivid life countless new facets to the drama of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, cultural oppression and world-changing artistic, literary and musical creativity. In these pages are dozens of extraordinary lives and personalities, rescued from the archives and restored to their rightful place in America's narrative, as well as the ghosts of millions more. Four Hundred Souls is an essential work of story-telling and reclamation that redefines America and changes our notion of how history is written.


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An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America's leading Black writers. Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins wi An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America's leading Black writers. Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins with the arrival of twenty enslaved Ndongo people on the shores of the British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. In eighty chronological chapters, the book charts the tragic and triumphant four-hundred-year history of Black American experience in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty. Contributors include some of the best-known scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America who together bring to vivid life countless new facets to the drama of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, cultural oppression and world-changing artistic, literary and musical creativity. In these pages are dozens of extraordinary lives and personalities, rescued from the archives and restored to their rightful place in America's narrative, as well as the ghosts of millions more. Four Hundred Souls is an essential work of story-telling and reclamation that redefines America and changes our notion of how history is written.

30 review for Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

  1. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

    In Four Hundred Souls, Ibram Kendi and Keisha Blain have assembled a great group of 90 writers and poets to tell the history of African Americans from 1619-2019. Each writer wrote an essay for every 5 years in Black history. The collection begins with Nikole Hannah-Jones's essay on the 1619 arrival of 20 Africans in Virginia and ends with an essay by Alicia Garza on the Black Lives Matter movement. The essays in this book flow and connect together well, unlike most edited volumes that I have rea In Four Hundred Souls, Ibram Kendi and Keisha Blain have assembled a great group of 90 writers and poets to tell the history of African Americans from 1619-2019. Each writer wrote an essay for every 5 years in Black history. The collection begins with Nikole Hannah-Jones's essay on the 1619 arrival of 20 Africans in Virginia and ends with an essay by Alicia Garza on the Black Lives Matter movement. The essays in this book flow and connect together well, unlike most edited volumes that I have read. Readers will learn from this book, even those who are well versed in Black history. Many of the writers in the book focus on topics that do not receive a lot of attention in mainstream Black history books. Some examples include: Elizabeth Keyes who was the first Black woman in the American colonies to petition for her freedom, Lucy Terry Prince the poet who argued for her family's freedom before the Supreme Court, David George who established the first Black Baptist church, Black queer sexuality in the 1800s, Freedom's Journal the first Black owned and operated newspaper, etc. Even though this book is a collection of essays with a chronological focus it does not necessarily have to be read from beginning to end. You will not get lost if you skip around; although I recommend that you do read it chronologically. Coming into the book I thought the writers were going to cover what happened in each of the five years they wrote about, instead they picked a major theme/topic from those five years and wrote on that. I do think the book could have been better if it had been written just by Kendi and Blain and it was a straightforward history like Jill Lepore's These Truths: A History of the United States or Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. I was also not a big fan of the poems and ultimately did not find them memorable; however I did like how the poems complemented the essays and would reference some of the subjects in the prior essays. My favorite writers in this collection include: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Jemar Tisby, Christopher Lebron, Kai Wright, Sasha Turner, Wesley Lowery, Donna Brazile, Robert Jones Jr., and Michael Harriot. Overall this is a creative way to tell history, coming from a diverse group of Black writers. Thanks to NetGalley, One World, Ibram Kendi, and Keisha Blain for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on February 2, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    I was really impressed with the overall scope of this book. Wildly ambitious. I loved how the book dealt with major known events and then minor characters all but lost to history. The different styles kept the book fresh. With 80+ voices it was a great way to be introduced to new to me writers and a great way to discover which things I want to dive deeper into. My criticism comes from the sometimes disjointed feel because some contributors wrote history some wrote memoir and that left the book f I was really impressed with the overall scope of this book. Wildly ambitious. I loved how the book dealt with major known events and then minor characters all but lost to history. The different styles kept the book fresh. With 80+ voices it was a great way to be introduced to new to me writers and a great way to discover which things I want to dive deeper into. My criticism comes from the sometimes disjointed feel because some contributors wrote history some wrote memoir and that left the book feeling like it didn’t always know who/what it was.

  3. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    Talk about a historical tome… WOW! Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N. Blain did an amazing job if editing the history of African America for over four hundred years, with over 80 contributors in the form of poem, memoirs, bios and essays. If you are looking for an in-depth look into African American history, this is definitely the book to start with. Topics covered include Black Lives Matter, The Great Migration, The Code Noir, Maroons and Maroonage, Black Power, Queer Sexuality, Racial Passing, The Wa Talk about a historical tome… WOW! Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N. Blain did an amazing job if editing the history of African America for over four hundred years, with over 80 contributors in the form of poem, memoirs, bios and essays. If you are looking for an in-depth look into African American history, this is definitely the book to start with. Topics covered include Black Lives Matter, The Great Migration, The Code Noir, Maroons and Maroonage, Black Power, Queer Sexuality, Racial Passing, The War on Drugs, Hurricane Katrina, Black Immigrants, Civil War, Anita Hill… just to name a few. This collection is solidly written and well researched. Every chapter offers information that forces you to learn and maybe unlearn the history you were taught. I highly recommend this one. Here are some things I learned: If Black people could prove their Christianity through baptism or marriage in the Christian church, as occurred in New Amsterdam, they might logically be exempted from slavery. In 1655 Elizabeth Keye petitioned the courts for her freedom and that of her new child- and thus became the first woman of African descent to do so in the English North American colonies. To this day, Black people remain the most Christian demographic in the country. Royal African Company (RAC) is responsible for transporting more African people to the America than any other entity. Germantown Quakers wrote the first petition against slavery every drafter by a religious group in the English colonies. I loved how Christopher J. Lebron explored how English Quakers saw slavery vs how German Quakers viewed and lobbied for freedom. Zora Neale Hurston was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study folk religions of Jamaica and Haiti. It was while in Haiti that she wrote in just seven weeks Their Eyes Were Watching God, I particularly loved reading Robert Jones Jr. essay on Denmark Vesey- he answered Mr. West’s statement on why enslaved people didn’t just “leave”. KMT. I also enjoyed the conclusion to this historic read where Blain explored whether we are really our ancestors’ wildest dreams. A very solid collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Unlike anything I've read before, Four Hundred Souls examines the 400 year history of African America through the chorus of Black voices working and writing today. It starts with the arrival of a few dozen enslaved Africans on the White Lion in 1619—pre-dating the Mayflower of 1620. Each chapter of this book accounts for 5 years of history and is written by a different author. Each author brings their own worldview, personal history, and/or critical lens to their assigned time period. It's fasci Unlike anything I've read before, Four Hundred Souls examines the 400 year history of African America through the chorus of Black voices working and writing today. It starts with the arrival of a few dozen enslaved Africans on the White Lion in 1619—pre-dating the Mayflower of 1620. Each chapter of this book accounts for 5 years of history and is written by a different author. Each author brings their own worldview, personal history, and/or critical lens to their assigned time period. It's fascinating to see what they choose to reflect on and whether they choose to write in more of a scholarly way or memoir-ish, or something in between. I listened to the audiobook which has something like 80 different narrators. While it's a very cool concept, and all of the segments are well produced, I think for me the audio format was a hindrance to full immersion. Each chapter is only around 10 minutes, and I'd guess probably only 4-5 pages in the physical book, so it's both a wide overview of 400 years of history while also allowing each author to narrow in on their own specific interests. Jumping from one to the next every 10 minutes or so meant that it was a bit hard to retain information. I think I'd like to revisit this one in the future in physical format and be able to underline, make notes, and research topics at a more leisurely pace. This is definitely a format preference rather than a criticism of the book in any way. Can highly recommend this one! If you think the audiobook would work for you, then definitely check it out as it's a unique experience, highlighting a variety of voices and stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    This is a very ambitious collection of essays covering the 400 year history of people of African ancestry who have been in America from 1619 through 2019. Each essay discusses a person, event, movement, art form, judicial decision, law, etc that illuminates a 5 year period. There are also 10 poetry interludes. Just a few topics: the Middle Passage, the codification of the slaves’ inhumanity, the role of religion, Jim Crow laws, the American Revolution, racial passing, Dred Scott, Zora Neal Hurst This is a very ambitious collection of essays covering the 400 year history of people of African ancestry who have been in America from 1619 through 2019. Each essay discusses a person, event, movement, art form, judicial decision, law, etc that illuminates a 5 year period. There are also 10 poetry interludes. Just a few topics: the Middle Passage, the codification of the slaves’ inhumanity, the role of religion, Jim Crow laws, the American Revolution, racial passing, Dred Scott, Zora Neal Hurston, Anita Hill, Hurricane Katrina, Black Power and Black Lives Matter. It’s a lot to absorb. The volume of information evoked every possible emotion, but mostly I alternated between rage and sadness. I listened to the audiobook which was very well done. Unfortunately, the names of the narrators aren’t associated with the essays, they are just read as a list at the end. I recognized the names of a lot of professional narrators and I’m also sure that some of the authors read their own essays. I would have liked to have had biographies and/or bibliographies of the authors. Maybe they are included in other formats of the book. I did look up some of the authors and have added their books to my want to read list.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    Beginning with the first slave ship that brought Africans to America in 1619, Four Hundred Souls, is an essential collection that brings lesser-known historical events to the forefront, with noteworthy contributions from a range of writers, historians, journalists, activists, and more—these ninety leading Black voices bring us a unique history lesson that successfully balances historical and personal context. ⁣ ⁣ I’m telling you, the stories you will discover in this gem, is quit extraordinary. Fo Beginning with the first slave ship that brought Africans to America in 1619, Four Hundred Souls, is an essential collection that brings lesser-known historical events to the forefront, with noteworthy contributions from a range of writers, historians, journalists, activists, and more—these ninety leading Black voices bring us a unique history lesson that successfully balances historical and personal context. ⁣ ⁣ I’m telling you, the stories you will discover in this gem, is quit extraordinary. For example; Elizabeth Freeman, also known as MumBet, was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. What?! Oh and let’s not forget, In 1775, David George, founded the Silver Bluff Baptist Church, this was the first Black Baptist church in the United States, mind blown! The endless resilience of Black people in history goes on and on. Overall, this epic piece of work proves that African American history is American history. ⁣ ⁣ Many thanks to One World Books / Random House for this gifted copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patience K Phillips

    My first review at the bottom exploded within a few minutes of reading. Scroll down to the line to see this first snibitt of shock. Upon completing, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 on audio book (also bought hardcover), by Keisha N Blain and Ibram X Kend... I had to take a pause. Upon completing the epic historical journey have to sit in the moment for as long as it takes for me to absorb the totality of centuries. Typically, while reading jot segments of stori My first review at the bottom exploded within a few minutes of reading. Scroll down to the line to see this first snibitt of shock. Upon completing, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 on audio book (also bought hardcover), by Keisha N Blain and Ibram X Kend... I had to take a pause. Upon completing the epic historical journey have to sit in the moment for as long as it takes for me to absorb the totality of centuries. Typically, while reading jot segments of stories to weave for reviews. I've been teaching myself different ways to share my point of view to help potential readers and as a verified reviewer for authors on sites like Amazon from small book stores like More Than Words outta Boston who help foster youth learn biz skills selling books. This book on audio in various voices, similar to when TD Jakes joined with many voices to produce the entire Bible on CD (predigital) combines with theatrics so it sounded like we were in biblical times through scripture stories back then. Anyway, hearing the various performers tell these stories took me out for a spell. I finished the book weeks ago and until today wouldn't finish a review. One thing that happened on the way to this review since finishing the book is finding out Italians were considered worst then Negros and fell to mass lynchings by a democrat who went on to be elected the governor of Louisiana less then 100 years ago. I will not repeat his name. Then, to recognize those in authority from the federal and state government level decide at some point less then 100 years ago to make Italians ”white” while continuing to bias equity toward Africa and black people... Where do I find the words? I'm sad, angry, and empowered. Want to create a great review; afraid. If I don't speak out nothing will change. The only part of my family story I find gratitude in is the fact I am a part of the segregation bias story perpetuated by good old American Christian supremacists. Did you know, Fredrick Douglas in his autobiography, ”Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave” shares Christians are the worst slave owners? 👇🏼 Autobiography https://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Dougla... Henry Louis Gates, Jr in the The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song shared about how supremacists and slave owners and pastors changed the Bible to ensure people of color didn't find scripture to support their freedom? How does a lover of faith as a Christian who the American government at one time distances in bias and social injustice based on race then changes its mind and decided my family is white after all? This goes for Irish and other cultures, as well. Did you know at one point before race became the divider created by a white man running the show black and white people of similar classes married? Until the government said no. Outlawed these marriages and further separated people based on Melanin? Defined as, ”group of naturally occurring dark pigments, especially the pigment found in skin, hair, fur, and feather.” How do I review now? Never in my wildest thoughts did I think it was possible to see myself as the lowest of American Races. Thing is, even with my darkness boost in Spain in 1989 making me darker than one of my best friends Dee who’s black... By winter eventually I’m back to olive skin. Black and African descent can't. Not shouldn't want to loose their quality of skin color. How do we keep each other safe? What I've seen just in 2020 makes me wish for safety over differences. But, with this comes no change. So, here I am. Trying to create a review, afraid. Concerned no matter what I say or even do won't be enough. Until I speak up nothing will change. Maybe this review will impact one person who will impact one person and so on. If I can impact a 1,000 and you impact a 1,000, eventually we impact billions. The entire planet. Go big or go home 🙌🏼 🙌🏾🙌🏿🙌🏻🙌 Imma begin in the 1800’s for my full review within the book. See the first review below for a different rip on the opening setting. 1869-1874... This chapter in my imagination is ”In plain sight”. Meaning how obvious it is in 2021 we are seeing supremacists create an obvious hostile American environment ”in plain sight” basing this on the manipulation of constitutional rights. Similar to manipulation of the right to bear arms, these supremacists manipulate the freedom of speech ”in plain sight” to ignite ’little fires everywhere’. Yes, book reference for relatability. If you have not read this book you're missing a classic reference for insight. Clash of meaning for understanding... Just because we have the right to speak and own a gun doesn't give us the right to enter a movie theater and threaten people in word or showcasing the gun. Word to the wise, if anyone in America who can vote isn't paying attention or is following the narrative that is clueless to how the messaging in this book isn't still occurring today, beware. Those misinformed racists by the effect of ignorance will suppress and distress us if people do not help to educate as Dr. King concluded on Dec. 20, 1956. A full read of his words 👇🏼 https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/ki... I'm specifically reflecting toward and to the end of the speech. This isn't over people. We are at the cliff of the abyss. Complacency is, NOT NOT NOT our life purpose. If you read this book it's up to you to act on the lessons. It is NOT enough to brag you're not a racist. What are you doing about this to be a part of the collective voices that humanity requires at such a time as this? Another amazing historically liberating work is Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning. With this book, we learn the collective systemic racist mission supremacy perpetrated. The one that taught me ”color doesn't matter” and making room for black people in jobs was the solution. When in fact the solution is leveling the bias beginnings. In recent years I I've been hearing the word ”reparations”. Rather than jumping to conclusions studied the meaning to become informed. The first city in the nation to study and conclude affirmatively how reparations are warranted and distributed inspires me. My first best friend of 50 years now lives in Evanston. Anyway, this is the city link. 👇🏼 https://www.cityofevanston.org/govern... You can also watch the news broadcast of a family who is several generations from Evanston. My apologies for forgetting to save this under my social justice file. If you google Evanston reparations you'll see many articles and others from other cities. My point, to help elevate what we need as an equitable nation will not be able to include changing the devastating behaviors of democratic creation of the KKK and systemic racism occurrence like David Zucchino’s Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy. Or, Richard Gergel’s Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring. About a black veteran beat by White police causing loss of vision that triggered the national change we still benefit from pursuing? If we wanna take down the tone of destruction we must listen. More than say this sucks and ask what more can I do to support healing? This isn't about who did what. This is about we have a history that suppresses a country of people based on their color, like my great grandfather upon coming to America changed his Italian name to the white version because Italians were being lynched and declare less than ”negros”. Melanin is a biological ”broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms. Melanin is produced through a multistage chemical process known as melanogenesis, where the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine is followed by polymerization”. Melanin is not going anywhere. This being the reason supremacy justifies itself is an entitlement, not American. When Freddrick Douglas confesses in his autobiography...👇🏼 https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresou... ... that ”Christians” were the worst slave-owners and in ”The Black Church” learn how ”Christians” manipulate(d) the Bible to maintain slaves, slavery, and changes the Bible to suppress the people they needed for labor and rape... If I didn't have a black pastor, Bishop TD Jakes, and church communities, The Potters House I’d have abandoned the Christian religion. Not being religious myself it's my understanding those who harm people of color in the name of their beliefs are a religion of suppression and hatred. We are seeing on a national level similar to a century ago. I've already abandoned the bull, but I mean left entirely and pursued faith practices minus the attitude. Since 2016-2020 has become more obvious to me. The ”Christians” who embolden the perpetuation of hypocrisy and permissive systemic race division minus reconciliation perpetuating the false narrative the previous administration allowed for their grift business funnel... This makes spotting those ”Christians” and the parasitic problem super simple. So, don't disparage the rhetoric. Video it. Post it. Share it to the world who don't buy or sell this bullcrap. A few points to consider: Not all Christians are racist. Not all black people are from Africa. THE current VP of the US is a prime example. Asking someone on the census what color they are is racist, in my opinion. Requiring hiring based on skin color is racist. Not hiring someone, for this reason, is racist, too. What is a solution to our systemic racist problem? We begin with clear unbiased education from text like this, Four Hundred Souls. Stamped. Original works by Freddrick Douglas and even The Deep, by Rivers Solomon work of fiction based on pregnant captured African women thrown overboard off ships. Wake up, people. Wake the hell up. If anyone refuses to acknowledge the pain created can not be suppressed any longer then you my literacy friend are the problem collectively for supremacy. Any American citizen is a part of our collective story. Black brutality isn't just physical abuse. The mental torment is far worst. What I'm doing: 1- reading and reviewing 2- shopping black-run business and books. If you understand the way our government and states segregate even today black and marginalized peoples structurally in building areas and roads keeping the economy sequestered from generating revenue this one thing is something we collectively can do to help raise people out of cultural government and state lead suppression. 3- ask questions and open dialogs that continue long following the conversation conclusion 4- move into diverse neighborhoods 5- stand up when you learn how when racism is present even when it wasn't intended to present this way at the start. What I've learned is racism doesn't always begin with this intention. 6- for me, I'm creating a curriculum of social justice history. Unbiased factual truth 7- I'm creating a social justice podcast based on my experiences, literature, and community of color that surrounds me in a friend, neighbor, and city 8- challenging others overtime to think beyond their experience and toward a wider breadth of knowledge for understanding to wisdom for insight to lead them in new choices. Just because you believed it truly doesn't make it so. Learn for yourself. If you truly are not a racist this is the only next step any of us can take. Not base our being on values, but principles. Humanity requires a new view. This is my opinion based on listening to many voices. Pun intended. Real friends, neighbors, and people in my immediate life and throughout many circles to the outskirts which include books like this. Otis Moss Sr. grew up during Jim Crow. 1965 allowed voting for the first time walked six miles in his best suit only to be told he has to go to the other polling place six more miles away. There, ”you’re too late”. So, feeling defeated walked home six miles. 18 miles that day without being allowed even though his legal right to vote. Denied. He died before the next election. I was born in 1965. This is in my lifetime. With every story, the anger, sadness, activist in me boils up. If you're reading this and you think for one minute, one single second this crap is okay, eventually you will die and it'll be one less person we have to deal with to make the change we need in America. Last year, 2020 is when I learned the word anti-racist. It's not enough not to be racist. I must do something... Since then I've bought and borrowed books, and joined a book club on how to fight racism from courageous Christianity. Review on these books and recommend them as often as possible. Discuss racism with every person of color who has time to share. Participate in dialogs on LinkedIn in regards to discrimination and action steps for the work place. My pastor is black and church is full of black and many colors of humans and we translate the service in many languages for around the world. I'm creating a curriculum of books including out of copyright classical like autobiographies and unbiased truth. Recently I stood up to racism disenfranchising black votes for a local election and ended up being asked to join the community organizations to help. This part is so awesome because it'll help with two podcasts and blogs on Social Justice - Man’s Inhumanity to Man and one tentatively called ”African American Show: discuss global issues affective business today” with my young African business associate from Lagos. Basically, I'm a little on the extreme side of action. What can you do? Read. Use knowledge for understanding to wisdom of insight for choices. Even if you do simple acts of kindness for someone of color this helps. You may be the only person who does. This can change the narrative and help begin the healing of a heart. I’m so grateful for communities of color facilitating great works such as this to support a truth clearly stated. Not opinion. Not bias. Not white or black or brown or yellow. This is our collective history with an emphasis on the plight of black people. In my case, it would be Italian. You could be Asian, Iraqi, Jew, or a foster child. Even they're discriminated against. To me, there is not racism only from people classified as white. I’ve seen black racism. Asian racism. And so forth. I heard a man in my book study speak how he use to hate white people. How confusing it’s been to grow up thinking all white people are against black people. He said he’s still learning what it means to be black in truth and the current shifts of awareness he’s experiencing. Not the truth of what’s popular and accepted in narratives perpetuated by the local governments or media. But, his truth as a black man by faith learning deliverance from what pained him generationally to being open to engage and trust others who see his color and heart in love and light not loath and evil. What I like most about Four Hundred Souls is how much I'm learning about American history that hasn't been taught. This book has assisted me in finding other books to dig deeper on topics like slavery in NYC where I was born. Or the young veteran beat by police who lost his site leading to the civil rights movement (if I recollect correctly). I bought a separate book on this arriving soon and on Slavery in NYC. Wish I could remember my fellow veteran's name. I just heard it today in this book within a previous chapter. Nothing would please me more then an entire high school course dedicated to this and Stamped followed by more focused studies of particular happenings. I could see each class would be different. Groups of students would take a time period and dig in. Do speeches, plays, storytelling. In this day and age zoom meetings interviewing various people on topics of race and activism. So many possibilities. I'm very excited for more Americans to learn the unbiased truth. Here is where equity rises. Healing lives. Freedom invites us to show ourselves. One can not be free until all are free together. We the people... Not a fraction. Whole. All lives do not matter until all lives matter. See how I did that 😁 Insert black, Asian, jew, homeless, Italian, Pakistani, Nigerian, and on and on and on. We... Not me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥💯 _______Full review☝️🏼___ _______1st review 👇🏼___ ”What we remember is just as revelatory as what we forget”. ”If the Mayflower is the advent of American Freedom” (1619)... All white people on this journey can trace their lineage. The book thus far has me cultivated on audio. Hearing the storytelling while listening is gripping me to binge. Doing yoga at the moment while hearing this part paused to make notes to share. Pre-complete. Hoping to compel interests and curiosity. This book is transformative realism and truth and spectacular all at once. Why I ache for these people need to share about my people for comparison... My people, Huguenots, fled Europe's religious persecution in the early 1700s. Arrived to make friends with native people in what is now named Pennsylvania. These locals sold us, research says, 200 acres and the church built is still a vibrant community since. William Penn believed in paying people fairly and helped my family settle their land among our new friends who helped us learn to survive and thrive in this new land as a community with them. The town is named after my ancestor from 1717. I've traced back a thousand years from this set of ancestors. A cousin from this lineage is the youngest and first woman hired by Congress to sculpt the Lincoln Memorial and other renowned statues like Sequoya. We love the native people and there's no indication we did then accept friendship and share the land as they agreed. I used My Heritage to learn this within the last two years. I’ve learned about my great grandfather who Americanised his Italian name upon reaching the shores of America. The family hid his truth and it wasn't until last year found the truth. There's still a lot I don't know. More I didn't share. My point, because my ”Pioneer Settler” family has a rich heritage linked to many descendants the details were available with a little hard work sleuthing documents with names, and support from My Heritage. People of color in particular those descendants of slavery, however they were acquired, can not find their people oftentimes. The ship, White Lion proves freight of privilege as the Mayflower is documented is not what this ship held. I needed to pause the story already. It's barely begun. Sit in this. Reflect the pain. Empathize. Feel angry. Sad. Empowered to continue learning about my African and black brethren. Acting on what I'm learning to add voice to the voiceless. To become a part of you, my human family, endeavour to sit with you through your pain and with privilege you allow, become your sister by faith, humanity, friendship. ”If the Mayflower is the advent of American Freedom (1619)... Then the White Lion is the advent of American Slavery.” A moment of silence. Let this sink in. Deep inside your heart... Ordered a print copy, but am listening to Overdrive App from the library. ”A chorus of extraordinary voices comes together to tell one of history’s great epics: the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present”. Giving all the stars in the universe rating. There aren't enough in existence to praise this enough

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    I would have definitely added this book to my tbr anyway because it has Dr. Kendi’s name attached to it, but it was the whole concept of a collection of Black voices coming together to create a community history that captured my attention immediately and I was so happy when I received the ARC. In a way, this is like a follow up or companion to the 1619 project because that is the year the history in this book starts, with the tale of the first 20 or so Black people who were brought to the shores I would have definitely added this book to my tbr anyway because it has Dr. Kendi’s name attached to it, but it was the whole concept of a collection of Black voices coming together to create a community history that captured my attention immediately and I was so happy when I received the ARC. In a way, this is like a follow up or companion to the 1619 project because that is the year the history in this book starts, with the tale of the first 20 or so Black people who were brought to the shores of this land, with the author wondering what must they have been feeling about their situation as well as their new home. From there, each writer focuses on a five year period, talking about something that they found significant about that particular time period in history - whether it be a movement or rebellion that was crushed and erased from our collective memory, or a prominent Black voice of the time, or many other rebels and pioneers who paved the way for their future freedoms even if they have been forgotten by history. The book or project (as it should rightfully be called) is epic and ambitious, but the execution is perfect. Through poems and essays and profiles and testimonies, these 90 Black intellectuals from various fields come together to create such a wonderful volume of history that speaks to the feeling of community. The writing will make you angry and hopeful and emotional, and I ended up crying a few times. Sometimes, it also leaves you feeling sad because there’s so much that is lost to history, and how much we don’t know about the African American ancestors who suffered horribly for decades and centuries. This book is in a way a tribute to them, making us aware of how they fought for the right to be treated equally, and also motivate us to continue the fight till true equality is achieved. The book ends with a final essay by Alicia Garza about the Black Lives Matter movement and it felt like a fitting conclusion - a lot of strides have been made on the path to achieve the true ideals enshrined in the constitution but a lot is left to do, as all the BLM protests in 2020 and the recent insurrection on the capitol have shown. This community history is an inspiration and I hope it encourages many more of us to fight for a fair and just world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    sarah

    Four Hundred Souls is a highly ambitious retelling of Black America's story from 1619-2019 told by 90 different writers. It touches on a myriad of issues, everything from the war on drugs to slavery to migration to creativity. Each chapter covers five years and often has a central theme to it. However each is different, for every author writes in a different way. This allowed for diversity in the styles and kept it fresh. I have mixed feelings about this book to say the least. I am simultaneousl Four Hundred Souls is a highly ambitious retelling of Black America's story from 1619-2019 told by 90 different writers. It touches on a myriad of issues, everything from the war on drugs to slavery to migration to creativity. Each chapter covers five years and often has a central theme to it. However each is different, for every author writes in a different way. This allowed for diversity in the styles and kept it fresh. I have mixed feelings about this book to say the least. I am simultaneously glad it was told in the format it was, and also not. It is good because it kept it interesting and less like a history textbook- which it definitely still felt like, but not as much. However, inevitably each reader will connect with certain authors over others. I really enjoyed the way certain authors wrote, but really didn't for others. I wish there was perhaps a smaller pool of contributors to really hone in on those whose style matched the book. I also feel that would solve the problem of the disconnectedness I felt was evident through the book. There wasn't as much continuity and connection between the sections as I normally like. Additionally, I feel that listening to the audiobook was potentially a hinderance to my enjoyment. While I usually like consuming non-fiction audibly, this one was an anomaly. Perhaps it was that every ten minutes a different narrator would start speaking and it was a bit jarring. Perhaps it is just that this book is better taken in slowly and with the opportunity to go back and reread certain passages. I definitely found it more difficult to retain information than normal. Overall, I loved the concept of Four Hundred Souls, but unfortunately the execution was a little lacking for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about a culture and history I am less familiar with as an Australian. However, I wanted certain topics to be delved into a little longer and was less interested in others.

  10. 4 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    Each chapter is an essay, poem, or personal reflection on a different passage in time; presented in 5 year chunks. Instead of inundating the reader with everything that happened in the 5 year gap, it was focused on 1 or 2 people/events that were impactful. This gave a nice flow and allowed me to learn tidbits of history without feeling overwhelmed. I enjoyed all the different creators who participated in this. Using so many minds in the contributions brought more personality and feels. Thanks to N Each chapter is an essay, poem, or personal reflection on a different passage in time; presented in 5 year chunks. Instead of inundating the reader with everything that happened in the 5 year gap, it was focused on 1 or 2 people/events that were impactful. This gave a nice flow and allowed me to learn tidbits of history without feeling overwhelmed. I enjoyed all the different creators who participated in this. Using so many minds in the contributions brought more personality and feels. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House for my DRC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Graham

    I read most of FOUR HUNDRED SOULS electronically thanks to an advanced copy from Netgalley, & then I finished it via audio thanks to an advanced copy from Libro.fm. it was so good that I plan to purchase a print copy, too. . . the editors Ibram Kendi & Keisha Blain are the best of the best historians currently. I had the privilege of interning for them when they co-edited the blog ‘Black Perspectives’ in 2017. . . FOUR HUNDRED SOULS includes contributions from so many leading activists & scholars of I read most of FOUR HUNDRED SOULS electronically thanks to an advanced copy from Netgalley, & then I finished it via audio thanks to an advanced copy from Libro.fm. it was so good that I plan to purchase a print copy, too. . . the editors Ibram Kendi & Keisha Blain are the best of the best historians currently. I had the privilege of interning for them when they co-edited the blog ‘Black Perspectives’ in 2017. . . FOUR HUNDRED SOULS includes contributions from so many leading activists & scholars of our time: Martha Jones, Annette Gordon-Reed, Clint Smith, Jamelle Bouie, Isabel Wilkerson, Alicia Garza, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Imani Perry, Wesley Lowry, Brandon Byrd, & so. many. more. . . each contributor covers exactly 5yr through essay, journalistic commentary, and/or literature/poetry. the 5yr increments add up to 400yr between the start of Black America in 1619 & the year in which they drafted this book, 2019. title FOUR HUNDRED SOULS references this span of 400yr. . . even as a historian & history teacher w/ significant exposure to Black history, I learned so much. FOUR HUNDRED SOULS would be ideal for a high school or undergraduate history classroom, & I plan to bring it there. . . its interpretation of chronology & themes = cutting-edge. I plan to read FOUR HUNDRED SOULS every year till I remember all the names & events. Black history matters. Black Lives Matter. many thanks to these Black writers for producing FOUR HUNDRED SOULS

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    The stories in "Four Hundred Souls" begin to unfold in the year 1619, a year before the Mayflower when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia. This would be the inaugurating of the African presence to what would become the United States and it serves as the starting point to this epic project co-edited by Ibram X. Kendi, acclaimed author of "How to Be An Antiracist," and Keisha N. Blain, author of "Set the World on Fire." What follows is truly epic, a one- The stories in "Four Hundred Souls" begin to unfold in the year 1619, a year before the Mayflower when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia. This would be the inaugurating of the African presence to what would become the United States and it serves as the starting point to this epic project co-edited by Ibram X. Kendi, acclaimed author of "How to Be An Antiracist," and Keisha N. Blain, author of "Set the World on Fire." What follows is truly epic, a one-volume history, abbreviated of course, celebrating the history of African Americans. 90 writers. Each writer takes on a five-year history of the four-hundred-year span. Each writer approaches their five-year-period differently ranging from poetry to historical essays to short stories to fiery polemics to social calls to action to personal testimonies and more. Each writer uses a different lens to tell stories both familiar and remarkably unfamiliar. We learn about historical icons and unsung heroes, ordinary people and collective movements. There are names you might expect to read that nary make an appearance, while other names will have you exploring and researching and digging deeper wondering how this is a person or a place or an event of which you've never heard. You will feel the passion of years of resistance and ache with the years of oppression and abuse and discrimination. You will vibrate with the hope of a community that is alive and relentless and vast in its expression of ideas and beliefs and humanity. As always seems to be true in a collective of essays, some are more likely to resonate than others yet there's truly no weak link here. There's also, I'd dare say, none that outshine the others. This is truly a collective, a collective masterpiece of historical literature. The voices who participate in this effort are known and unknown, brilliant and creative and astute and remarkable. They are the essential Black voices of now, academics and artists, historians and journalists and others. I found myself deeply moved by "Four Hundred Souls," but I also found myself called to action and called to greater understanding. I found myself informed yet called to seeking greater knowledge. I found myself convicted, convicted of ignorance and even willful blindness of truth and history and joy and sorrow. I did, indeed, find myself searching for more than what was contained within these pages, these essays often serving to challenge me to discover more truths and broader knowledge and to discover the undiscovered stories and voices of past and present. It's difficult to describe this feeling having completed "Four Hundred Souls," a literary journey that has ended yet in many ways has just begun. There are books that change your reality and change your perspective. "Four Hundred Souls" is such a book. For now, I sit with it. Not particularly restfully. I am more aware, it seems, yet also more aware of how unaware I really am. This is not the white man's history of African America nor is it a simple glossing over for Black History Month. It is a community history of African America brought to life by essential Black voices telling essential Black stories through a Black lens and perspective with a fullness and a deep, soulful appreciation of what it has meant, does mean, and will mean to be Black in America. Both epic and intimate, "Four Hundred Souls" is a remarkable achievement.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    It is a testament to this book that I read it in just over one week given that I usually take much longer than this for a lengthy non-fiction book that, through four hundred souls, covers four hundred years of history. Not only did I learn so much, but the fact that it uses a different author for each five year section kept it interesting and fresh, and I loved the poetry throughout. This book is educational, emotional, and inspirational. We really need it right now, it is time for our country t It is a testament to this book that I read it in just over one week given that I usually take much longer than this for a lengthy non-fiction book that, through four hundred souls, covers four hundred years of history. Not only did I learn so much, but the fact that it uses a different author for each five year section kept it interesting and fresh, and I loved the poetry throughout. This book is educational, emotional, and inspirational. We really need it right now, it is time for our country to face reality and move forward with a true focus on change. Unfortunately, what happened yesterday at the US Capitol and what led up to it could already be added to this compedium.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie (katieladyreads)

    Wow. This was remarkable. Highly recommend on audio. Must read for anyone interested in African American history.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    FOUR HUNDRED SOULS: A Community History of African America, 1619 - 2019 edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain is such an outstanding book! I truly loved it! I loved the unique way this history was delivered in eighty chapters each a five year segment told chronologically by a different writer. I learned a lot throughout this whole book. I also really enjoyed how each part ended with a work of poetry. Upon finishing this book I was crying. It was really moving to read about this history. T FOUR HUNDRED SOULS: A Community History of African America, 1619 - 2019 edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain is such an outstanding book! I truly loved it! I loved the unique way this history was delivered in eighty chapters each a five year segment told chronologically by a different writer. I learned a lot throughout this whole book. I also really enjoyed how each part ended with a work of poetry. Upon finishing this book I was crying. It was really moving to read about this history. This is one of the best history books I’ve ever read! . Thank you to Random House via NetGalley for my advance review copy!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Ann

    This collection of essays and poetry penned by 90 writers is an impressive feat. In addition to discovering historical figures and contemporary scholars, I appreciated the parallels between the past and present. These parallels highlight the continuing struggle for African-Americans to become their ancestors' wildest dreams. Works by contributors I will pursue: Chlorine Sky Heavy: An American Memoir (his contribution affected me the most) Praise Song for the Butterflies The Cherokee Rose The Su This collection of essays and poetry penned by 90 writers is an impressive feat. In addition to discovering historical figures and contemporary scholars, I appreciated the parallels between the past and present. These parallels highlight the continuing struggle for African-Americans to become their ancestors' wildest dreams. Works by contributors I will pursue: Chlorine Sky Heavy: An American Memoir (his contribution affected me the most) Praise Song for the Butterflies The Cherokee Rose The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together Some quotes: Men talk of the Negro problem. There is no Negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have honesty enough, loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough to life up to their Constitution. - Frederick Douglas, 1894 In government service and political life I have always felt it was a handicap for oppressed people to depend so largely on a leader, because unfortunately in our culture, the charismatic leader usually becomes a leader because he has found a spot in the public limelight...There is also the danger in our culture that, because a person is called upon to give public statements and is acclaimed by the establishment, such a person gets to the point of believing he is the movement...and they don't do the work of actually organizing people. - Ella Baker [On "identity politics", as introduced in Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism] What we meant was that Black women had a right to determine their own political agendas based upon who they were and the multiple systems of oppression that targeted them. - Barbara Smith

  17. 5 out of 5

    Oscreads

    This was a stunning book to read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kris Ingmundson

    Incredible. I already know that I need to read it again. The format - a stitched-together patchwork of essays from different voices - pays beautiful homage to the content.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Evie

    A glowing 5 stars to this. There is so much to take in and appreciate here. I feel like I’ve learned a lot, I’ve listened to stories and recounts of crucial historical moments that I have never learned about before. This is an essential and very insightful read. I have listened to the audio - full cast of amazing voices - and it was phenomenal, but I will definitely also be getting a print copy of the book to go through again and highlight passages.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaytee Cobb

    Everyone. Everyone. Should read this book. The diversity of contributors is incredible. The way that history is brought to life with sweeping stories and very personal narratives. The way that each of these authors is a complete expert in their five year span. The poems! All of it. You need it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate Jordhamo

    I truly don’t have words. Buy this book. Read this book. Keep this book forever.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joshunda Sanders

    An introductory collage of significant and important milestones in the African American journey in America with fantastic writers, poets and scholars providing context on everything from movements to Supreme Court decisions. There are ten parts, and some contributions are personal, others are third-person and read a little more distant.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    “In August 1619, when the 20 negroes stepped off the ship White Lion and saw British faces, they didn’t know.” They didn’t know that they were inadvertently “pregnant with community”, the unfortunate pioneers that would symbolically mark the birth date of African America. They didn’t know that they would become the prologue for 400 years of variegated African American history: a history of enslavement, murder, rape, rebellion, self-actualisation, abolition, of persistent prejudice, pain and comm “In August 1619, when the 20 negroes stepped off the ship White Lion and saw British faces, they didn’t know.” They didn’t know that they were inadvertently “pregnant with community”, the unfortunate pioneers that would symbolically mark the birth date of African America. They didn’t know that they would become the prologue for 400 years of variegated African American history: a history of enslavement, murder, rape, rebellion, self-actualisation, abolition, of persistent prejudice, pain and community. They didn’t know so much. In this remarkable project, editors Dr Ibram X Kendi and Kesha Blain act as the composers for a choir of black voices, each singing their soulful account of a 5 year period from 1619 through to 2019, from the White Lion’s docking on the shore to the rallying cries that black lives do in fact matter. The 90 voices compiled are polyphonic and diverse, a community of writers, activists, journalists, lawyers, historians, artists, poets and so many more, each adding their own compelling essays to this account of 400 years of African American history. It is the perfect book for Black History Month, of course, but it’s a stunning endeavour for all months, a vital waypoint and roadmap for African Americans to chart the next 400 years, and beyond. We may not know what those 20 men and women thought or felt or dreamt about back in 1619 when they first stepped onto the land that would become America, but future generations will now always know what was on the minds and in the hearts of their descendants in 2019. As Blain writes at the conclusion, the state of play in 2021 likely does not actualise “the wildest dreams of [African American’s] ancestors”, may still be full of dreams deferred, of separation and not equality but it is also one of hope and of community. ‘Four Hundred Souls’ is an epic yet abbreviated history that will have you compelled to research and read further. There are stories here both familiar and unknown, with writing ranging from fiery polemic, to short story, to calls to social action, to historical essays, to personal memoirs, all punctuated by ten incredible poems from contemporary wordsmiths. It is an essential account but it is also a reminder to look deeper, read further and to listen more carefully. The work is only just begun

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3 stars: I liked it. First of all, know that reading this book properly will feel like work, like reading a history textbook would. It's not a standalone history textbook, though - more like a collection of those "spotlight on" or sidebar discussions that are sprinkled throughout history textbooks. For the most part, I think this book succeeds at its goal of sharing American history through the voices of African Americans. I agree that Black history is marginalized in schools, and it is important 3 stars: I liked it. First of all, know that reading this book properly will feel like work, like reading a history textbook would. It's not a standalone history textbook, though - more like a collection of those "spotlight on" or sidebar discussions that are sprinkled throughout history textbooks. For the most part, I think this book succeeds at its goal of sharing American history through the voices of African Americans. I agree that Black history is marginalized in schools, and it is important to preserve and document Black history in more than just a cursory manner. However, this book contains no bibliography and is not as scholarly as it could have been. This book has a clever and ambitious format that gathers short works of 90 different writers, each covering a different 5-year period of history plus some poetry sprinkled in. I suppose it is inevitable that a reader will find some of those writers interesting and others boring. I certainly did. I also felt that some contributors were more effective at actually communicating history than others. Some stuck to their 5-year window; others didn't. A couple felt duplicative. Some pieces were rather abrupt in their endings, which may have been a consequence of the editing process. So overall, for me, the book did not flow as smoothly as I would have preferred. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile companion piece to the study of American history.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy. Right out of the gate this book grabbed me with the story of the White Lion which arrived before the Pilgrims. The what? Wait, slaves came BEFORE the Pilgrims? HUH??? This book is rich with black history and I felt betrayed reading much of it for the first time at the age of almost 50. Even the stories that I did know I realized I only knew it in the way that our white historians wanted it told. I absolutely loved the way that the artists craftily took Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy. Right out of the gate this book grabbed me with the story of the White Lion which arrived before the Pilgrims. The what? Wait, slaves came BEFORE the Pilgrims? HUH??? This book is rich with black history and I felt betrayed reading much of it for the first time at the age of almost 50. Even the stories that I did know I realized I only knew it in the way that our white historians wanted it told. I absolutely loved the way that the artists craftily took threads of history and related them back to what is happening currently in our country. I have a new understanding of how Christianity played a part in the history of blacks and further reinforcement that we are a country that has acted without integrity for centuries and how black people in our country have been fighting for 400 years too long. I found myself clipping out lines throughout the book so I could go back and read them again. I found myself reading the Slave Codes in modern day context with a whole new lens. The poetry was oustanding. Although I normally find reading history to be very dry this book did a great job threading in different writing styles with historical reflections, first person stories and poetry to bring it all together.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jen | mamajustwantstoread

    I don’t think I can properly rate this book considering all of the incredible research and knowledge that went into it, or maybe that’s all I need to know to rate it a full 5 stars. You can definitely feel that it’s a labor of love. Stars aside, there is so much to learn with in Four Hundred Souls that I didn’t previously know about, so many people and events that I want to further research. This should be mandatory reading and although dense, the chapters are short and engaging. As a white reade I don’t think I can properly rate this book considering all of the incredible research and knowledge that went into it, or maybe that’s all I need to know to rate it a full 5 stars. You can definitely feel that it’s a labor of love. Stars aside, there is so much to learn with in Four Hundred Souls that I didn’t previously know about, so many people and events that I want to further research. This should be mandatory reading and although dense, the chapters are short and engaging. As a white reader, read it to expand your mind and to possibly be given a new perspective of what it’s like to be Black in America from the authors in the book who experience it. Definitely a must for any history buff’s or anyone wanting to learn more about the history of African Americans.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Keljo

    This book is a potent collection of writings skillfully woven together by amazing editors. The audiobook has the added distinction of bringing this collection of voices to life through the vibrant work of a full cast. This history is so rich and challenging and immediate that it should cast away any doubt one might have about including the stories, experiences, and names wrongfully left out of our historical discourse in curriculums nationwide. However this book is just a start, and I look forwa This book is a potent collection of writings skillfully woven together by amazing editors. The audiobook has the added distinction of bringing this collection of voices to life through the vibrant work of a full cast. This history is so rich and challenging and immediate that it should cast away any doubt one might have about including the stories, experiences, and names wrongfully left out of our historical discourse in curriculums nationwide. However this book is just a start, and I look forward to seeking out more stories and voices that I was denied while in school.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I loved the scope of this and how it builds upon itself to bring the reader to the present. One book will never be sufficient to tell such a broad history, but this volume does an admirable job telling significant parts of it. I was particularly excited to listen to the audio for the dozens of people selected to read. The only drawback was inherent to its format--being that it had so many authors, I was drawn to some essays more than others, and in that it felt a little uneven. But overall, it r I loved the scope of this and how it builds upon itself to bring the reader to the present. One book will never be sufficient to tell such a broad history, but this volume does an admirable job telling significant parts of it. I was particularly excited to listen to the audio for the dozens of people selected to read. The only drawback was inherent to its format--being that it had so many authors, I was drawn to some essays more than others, and in that it felt a little uneven. But overall, it really is a tremendous read and provides fodder for further exploration.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    What an amazing achievement this book is, and well worth a read or listen by anyone who is interested in African American history. There were so many fascinating stories and essays shared in this book and I'm really glad that I purchased a copy because I know it is one I will want to return to to reread pieces of it. What an amazing achievement this book is, and well worth a read or listen by anyone who is interested in African American history. There were so many fascinating stories and essays shared in this book and I'm really glad that I purchased a copy because I know it is one I will want to return to to reread pieces of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    A wonderful collection of essays covering the 400 years of Black America. I listened to the book and that was great with a full cast but I think reading the book would be more conducive to really being able to sit with and really absorb each separate work.

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