The not-so-little black book you should read

In 1974, Middleton A. Harris headed up a team including author Toni Morrison to collaborate on The Black Book, an impressively detailed and now-classic chronicle of the black experience in America. To celebrate its 35th anniversary, the book has been handsomely reissued—with a new foreword by Morrison—and if you haven’t ever had the chance to read it, don’t miss the experience of what Henry Louis Gates Jr. has hailed as “the ultimate treasure chest of the black experience.”

Compiled from more than 500 archival documents, articles and photographs, it covers a wide array of topics: the brutality of slave punishments; eyewitness accounts of abolitionist John Brown’s execution (there was a contest as to who would provide the “winning” noose from which Brown would hang); patents and famous contributions to popular music, sports, dance and Hollywood; and maps and accounts of the Underground Railroad. It’s a celebration of the African-American experience as well as a fascinating history lesson all Americans should know.

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