An impressive array of 14 essays (most reprinted from scholarly journals) on aspects of African-Americanism, ranging in theme from black nationalism to the writings of Herman Melville— and spanning a quarter-century of the author's impressive career (History and Religious Studies/UC Riverside; Slave Culture, 1987, etc.). Stuckey's collection—which is as much about prominent movements in the African-American experience as about specific individuals—begins and ends with considerations of ``the black ethos'' as reflected in music: The opening essay treats the slave experience through work songs and spirituals, while the concluding (and title) piece offers an unusual approach by viewing the civil- rights movement through the music its leaders used to keep it alive. The history of black nationalist and emigrationist thought also figures prominently, from its first manifestations in the early 19th century and Henry Garnet's antebellum African Civilization Society to later forms of the same desire for liberation in the thinking of W.E.B. DuBois and his contemporaries. Melville's remarkable Benito Cereno—with its depiction of a slave- ship mutiny based on an actual occurrence—is the subject of two analyses as Stuckey explores the author's considerable understanding of African culture, and the towering figure of Paul Robeson in black cultural history is similarly honored. Frederick Douglass and Denmark Vesey, with their own striking contributions to that history, are among the many other prominent African- Americans noted, giving ample evidence of both the breadth and the complexity of black expression and experience. Meticulous and well researched: a solid tribute to black culture in America that might well ignite sparks of interest in a new generation of historians and artists.
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