Coming Soon!
Forgotten African American Firsts
An Encyclopedia of Pioneering History
by Hans A. Ostrom and J. David Macey Jr.
March 2023, 322pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7535-9
$107, £83, 94€, A147
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7536-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Showcases African American leaders in art, entertainment, science, sports, politics, religion, business, and popular culture.

Forgotten African American Firsts provides students with resources for learning and conducting research about African American innovators and their contributions to art, entertainment, sports, politics, religion, business, and popular culture.

While the achievements of such individuals as Barack Obama, Toni Morrison, and Thurgood Marshall are well known, many accomplished African Americans have been largely forgotten or deliberately erased from the historical record in America. This volume introduces students to those African Americans whose successes in entertainment, business, sports, politics, and other fields remain poorly understood. Dr. Charles Drew, whose pioneering research on blood transfusions saved thousands of lives during World War II; Mae Jemison, an engineer who in 1992 became the first African American woman to travel in outer space; and Ethel Waters, the first African American to star in her own television show, are among those chronicled in Forgotten African American Firsts. With nearly 150 entries across 17 categories, this book has been carefully curated to showcase the inspiring stories of African Americans whose hard work, courage, and talent have led the course of history in the United States and around the world.


  • Introduces students to the pioneering achievements of African American artists, inventors, leaders, and scholars
  • Orients readers to historical, biographical, contextual, and theoretical approaches to understanding and appraising the work of African American innovators
  • Documents the critical but often unrecognized role that African Americans in every generation have played in transforming American culture
  • Models major avenues for investigating, assessing, and writing about African American trailblazers and the significance and continuing influence of their accomplishments
Hans A. Ostrom is professor of English and African American studies at the University of Puget Sound. His teaching and research interests focus on African American literature, creative writing, and detective fiction. Ostrom is the author of several books, including Langston Hughes: A Study of the Short Fiction and A Langston Hughes Encyclopedia. He is co-editor of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature.

J. David Macey Jr. is professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma. He specializes in the study and teaching of Old English literature, 18th-century British literature, and the history of the English language. Macey is co-editor of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature and African American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students.
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