Richard Bardolph is Professor of History at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, N.C. This book is an ambitious attempt to identify the most celebrated Negro Americans in the country's past and to assemble the scattered and elusive facts about their social origins. The author divides his narrative into periods according to the political, cultural and social characteristics which aided or hindered Negro advancement. He traces the emergence of ""leader"" types who follow each other historically: the individual who won distinction by demonstrating that such qualities as courage, intelligence and artistry could be Negro attributes; the individual, often a religious leader, who found economic and social disabilities intolerable precisely because they had assimilated so much of America's civilization and had come to share its values; the generations out of slavery who had made their mark and who provided ""success stories"" whether or not they chose to ally themselves with the Negro ""cause""; and the ""race leaders"" of the past decades who have been drawn chiefly from the organizations specifically created to plead the Negro cause. This is straightforward history, not for the general reader.