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African-American History

An Introduction

Joanne Turner-Sadler

Every year more colleges and high schools are offering classes (and often making them required classes) in black history. Joanne Turner-Sadler provides a concise and probing treatment of 400 years of black history in America that can be used with age groups ranging from lower high school to college. In African American History: An Introduction the author touches on key figures and events that have shaped African American culture beginning with a look at Africa and its various civilizations and the migration of the African people to America. Some essential topics covered are: the struggle with slavery, the role African Americans played in America’s wars (including the current war in Iraq), race riots and unions, the NAACP, civil rights, and black power movements, the Harlem Renaissance, issues in education, the journey into the West, legal cases such as Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board of Education, African Americans as athletes, entertainers, and statesmen.
This book is an indispensable addition to all library collections as well as a teaching tool for instructors. It is heavily illustrated (photos, maps, timelines) with useful end-of-the-chapter questions and activities for further study and includes a handy bibliography of suggested readings and an index. New in this edition is a section on the historic election of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States. Interesting connections Obama has to past presidents are explored as well. This edition also contains enhanced discussions of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and the historic positions both held.
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1 Africa and Civilization

Extract

Africa: Home of the Human Race

The history of African Americans is many thousands of years old. In fact, it starts with the beginning of the human species. Scientific evidence such as DNA typing and the discoveries of the Leakey family in Tanzania and Kenya point to the origin of human beings, some 200,000 years ago, on the continent of Africa. These people eventually migrated to other land masses. Most scientists and paleoanthropologists now agree that Africa is the birthplace of modern humans.

Paleoanthropological Evidence

Paleoanthropology is the study of bones and bone fragments of humans from the ancient past. The oldest paleoanthropologic finds that trace the history of the development of man have been discovered in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The Louis Leakey family began to find hominid fossils (ancient skeletal remains) in Tanzania in the Olduvai Gorge in the 1950s. In 1972, ← 5 | 6 → Richard Leakey found remains of what was then thought to be the oldest bones discovered to date. What was unique about this find was that this hominid made tools.

Then, a few years later, an Ethiopian team led by Donald Johanson discovered a fossilized skeleton, which they named “Lucy.” The evidence pointed to her existence about 3.2 million years ago. There were approximately five different kinds of humans beginning with Australopithecus afarensis, the most famous example being “Lucy,” about 2–3 million years ago. Next was Australopithecus robustus, who lived about 2 million years ago....

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