In twenty-two selections, black Americans report the indignities and insults they have endured. Representing a period of two hundred years, they range from the atrocities of the slave ship (Gustavus Vassa) to the equally insidious abuse of some California police (Bobby Seale). The first section ""Living Black in White America,"" includes Saunders Redding, James Weldon Johnson, Sammy Davis, Jr., and James Baldwin on the more subtle -- and mostly northern -- manifestations of racism. In the second part, ""The Seeds of Bitterness,"" bigotry is met with patience and quiet resistance: Billie Holiday on the southern road with Artie Shaw's band and infrequent accommodations, or Mary Church Terrell looking for a decent home in Washington. In the last section, similar situations are faced with less flexible and more organized resistance: Nat Turner; Frederick Douglass; Martin Luther King, Jr. and the bus boycott; Anne Moody and Mississippi sit-ins; Carl Rowan and voter registration. Only one, Jesse Owens, seems optimistic, so the absence of Booker T. Washington is not surprising but the exclusion of W. E. B. DuBois is. Nevertheless this is not an unbalanced collection and it does not fail -- as have others -- by being either too dispassionate or too strident.