50 Events That Shaped African American History
An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic
by Jamie J. Wilson, Editor
September 2019, 861pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3786-9
$214, £165, 187€, A294
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3787-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Despite centuries of oppression and a systematic denial of opportunity, African Americans have made countless invaluable contributions to the advancement of society in the United States.

This two-volume work celebrates 50 notable achievements of African Americans, highlighting black contributions to U.S. history and examining the ways black accomplishments shaped American culture.

This two-volume encyclopedia offers a unique look at the African American experience, from the arrival of the first 20 Africans at Jamestown through the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Ferguson Protests. It illustrates subjects such as the Jim Crow period, the Brown v. Board of Education case that overturned segregation, Jackie Robinson’s landmark integration of major league baseball, and the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. Drawing from almost 400 years of U.S. history, the work documents the experiences and impact of black people on every aspect of American life.

Presented chronologically, the selected events each include at least one primary source to provide the reader with a first-person perspective. These range from excerpts of speeches given by famous African American figures, to programs from the March on Washington. The remarkable stories collected here bear witness to the strength of a group of people who chose to survive and found ways to work collectively to force America to live up to the promise of its founding.


  • Chronicles almost 400 years of African American history beginning with the arrival of 20 Africans into Jamestown, VA, and ending with the 2014 Ferguson Protests
  • Provides readers with an understanding of key events that represent the African American experience
  • Brings the featured events to life using first-person accounts, essays, primary sources, photographs, and timelines
  • Demonstrates the broad influence and impact of African Americans on history, the arts, laws, sports, literature, film, television, and social movements
Jamie J. Wilson is associate professor of modern United States and African American history at Salem State University, Salem, MA. His work has appeared in The History Teacher, International Social Science Review, African Americans in New York Life and History, Western Journal of Black Studies, and Journal of African American History. He is also the author of Civil Rights Movement in Greenwood's Landmarks of the American Mosaic series as well as Building a Healthy Black Harlem: Health Politics in Harlem, New York, from the Jazz Age to the Great Depression. Wilson holds a doctorate from New York University.


LJ Best Reference of 2019—Library Journal, March 1, 2020


"In distilling African American history down to a series of essential snapshots, this title offers an excellent jumping-off resource for students exploring avenues for research in U.S. history, African American studies, and sociology."—Library Journal, February 1, 2020

"The engaging format and up-to-date content will serve student researchers well."—Booklist Online, February 1, 2020

"Recommended."—Choice, June 1, 2020
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