Encyclopedia of African American History
[3 volumes]
by Leslie M. Alexander and Walter C. Rucker, Editors
February 2010, 1136pp, 8 1/2x11
3 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-769-2
$341, £263, 297€, A468
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-774-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Of the 11 million Africans shipped across the Atlantic beginning in the 16th century, around 500,000 were sent to North America. As their descendants and other immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa have struggled for equality, legal protection, and the opportunities of the American promise, they have left an indelible imprint on virtually every aspect of American life.

A fresh compilation of essays and entries based on the latest research, this work documents African American culture and political activism from the slavery era through the 20th century.

Encyclopedia of African American History introduces readers to the significant people, events, sociopolitical movements, and ideas that have shaped African American life from earliest contact between African peoples and Europeans through the late 20th century.

This encyclopedia places the African American experience in the context of the entire African diaspora, with entries organized in sections on African/European contact and enslavement, culture, resistance and identity during enslavement, political activism from the Revolutionary War to Southern emancipation, political activism from Reconstruction to the modern Civil Rights movement, black nationalism and urbanization, and Pan-Africanism and contemporary black America. Based on the latest scholarship and engagingly written, there is no better go-to reference for exploring the history of African Americans and their distinctive impact on American society, politics, business, literature, art, food, clothing, music, language, and technology.


  • Contributions from over 100 specialists on African America and the African diaspora
  • A spectacular selection of illustrations and photographs, such as a Kongo cosmogram, the African burial ground in New York City, and maps of the Triangular Trade and the Underground Railroad
Leslie M. Alexander, PhD, is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Her published works include African or American?: Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784–1861.

Walter C. Rucker, PhD, is associate professor of African American and African studies at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. His published works include The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America.


"...this set may have some appeal as an update for older print resources, or for less-well-heeled general collections."—School Library Journal, April 1, 2010

"Although this work is aimed at high school students and college undergraduates, graduate students and advanced scholars in the fields of American history, African American history, ethnic studies, and black studies will find it an accessible and useful resource."—Library Journal, June 1, 2010

"Recommended for academic and public libraries."—Booklist, July 1, 2010

"This is a valuable reference set, especially for schools looking to add to their collection for International Baccalaureate resources. Recommended."—Library Media Connection, October 1, 2010

"More than 200 illustrations, photographs and maps supplement the entries, and each essay also has a bibliography that will allow readers to perform more in-depth research on a given topic."—Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2010

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, October 1, 2010

"Overall, this is a soldily written and well-researched mid-level set of reference books on this topic."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, September 1, 2010

"Overall, the Encyclopedia of African American History serves as an outstanding historical reference publication that will add value to any high school, academic, or public library. Moreover, this work will serve to complement any current reference collection covering African-American, Black studies, or cultural studies. In particular, the organization system of the encyclopedia, through its division of entries into themes, distinguishes it from similar reference books."—Reference Reviews, November 24, 2010
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