A compendium of questions and answers about African-American cultural history.
Cothran states in his introduction that he began this book with the idea of creating a trivia game. Abandoning the concept, he decided to put together a collection of questions and answers, which could then be used in a classroom setting or merely as an informative resource for those interested in African-American history. The book is divided into twelve chapters, each covering a topic such as Art, Science, Education, Sports, etc. Most noteworthy are the sections about African-American artists, scientists and educators–fields in which African-Americans have made major contributions yet are often unrecognized in history textbooks. The book is most successful when the question is followed by a short paragraph–almost like an abbreviated encyclopedia entry–about the question’s subject. Unfortunately, not every topic gets a full treatment, and unelaborated questions about obscure historical personages–for example, the entry on Isaac Burns Murphy, the first African-American jockey to win the Kentucky Derby; or Mary Fields, a prominent African-American cowgirl–remain mysterious footnotes in history. To Cothran’s credit, he provides a thorough bibliography at the end of each chapter. Ultimately, this is the book’s major value: a centralized and alternative resource for those interested in not just African-American, but American, history.
A worthwhile volume for classrooms and libraries, and a solid entry point for those interested in learning more about African-American contributions to history.