Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

by Ibram X. Kendi - editor (Author)

A chorus of extraordinary voices comes together to tell one of history’s great epics: the 400-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present - edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire.

The story begins in 1619 - a year before the Mayflower - when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and 1,000 other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history.

Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume "community" history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled 90 brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that 400-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from 90 different minds, reflecting 90 different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith - instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.

This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 is a groundbreaking work that tells the story of African Americans from their arrival in the United States in 1619 to the present day. Edited by Ibram X. Kendi, the book features essays by a diverse group of scholars, activists, and artists, each of whom offers a unique perspective on the African American experience. The book is divided into four parts, each of which focuses on a different time period:

Part 1: The Long Shadow of Slavery (1619-1865)
This section begins with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the United States and traces the development of the institution of slavery. It also examines the resistance of enslaved Africans to slavery and the abolitionist movement that eventually led to the end of slavery in the United States.

Part 2: The Jim Crow Era (1865-1965)
This section covers the period of segregation and discrimination that followed the end of slavery. It examines the rise of Jim Crow laws, the resistance of African Americans to segregation, and the civil rights movement that eventually led to the passage of landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

Part 3: The Black Power Movement and the New Black Consciousness (1965-1980)
This section explores the rise of the Black Power Movement and the new Black Consciousness that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. It examines the impact of these movements on African American culture, politics, and society.

Part 4: The Age of Mass Incarceration (1980-Present)
This section examines the rise of mass incarceration in the United States and its disproportionate impact on African Americans. It also explores the resistance of African Americans to mass incarceration and the movement for criminal justice reform.

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 is an essential resource for anyone who wants to understand the history of African Americans in the United States. It is a powerful and moving work that tells the story of a people who have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve great things.


February 02, 2021