the cover of Before the Mayflower

Before the Mayflower-A History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962 by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

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Reviews from Goodreads.com

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This a great introduction, if not then the best introduction, to African American History. If you are wanting to know more about the story of African Americans this book is very readable and accurate. When I taught our school African American History class this was my text. My students liked it so much most of them went out and bought their own copies.

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Mr. Bennett gives voice to Black Americans, and to the cultures they brought with them. Through impeccable research, he has uncovered history and culture that was not readily available those many years ago. This book was published and available at almost the same time I finished my degree. I found it later when I had the luxury of being able to read what I wanted, rather than that which was assigned, and have used it to some degree in home schooling my son (though it is too difficult for most high school students). Highly readable and enormously enlightening.

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This was an amazing piece of work. I knew that people of color in this country had it rough but this truly shows just how bad. Even with all of the hardships people of color tried again and again to be the best that society would not let them. I was inspired by this book to continue to strive for progress and thus success. The stories of my ancestors have shown me that I come from a strong stock that can survived the worst of times so that I may have the best of times.

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From the inside flap of the print edition of 1962:

This is a history of the American Negro, whose ancestors arrived at Jamestown a year before the arrival of the “Mayflower.”

The book begins in Africa with the great empires of the Nile Valley and the western Sudan and ends with the Second Reconstruction, which Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sit-in Genera­tion are fashioning in the North and South. Written in a dramatic, readable style, Before The Mayflower throws a great deal of light on today’s headlines. As such, it will be a valuable addition to the library of every discerning American.

Grounded on the work of scholars and specialists, the book is designed for the non-specialist. Based on the trials and triumphs of Negro Americans, the book tells a story which is relevant to all men.

Here are the Negro Minute Men of Lexington and Concord and the black soldiers who stood with Andrew Jackson at New Orleans and Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg.

Here also are the forgotten figures of American history: Phillis Wheatley, the slave poet who became the second American woman to write a book; Nat Turner, the mystic who led a bloody slave revolt; P. B. S. Pinchback, the Negro who sat in the Louisiana governor’s mansion and dreamed of the vice presidency.

 

 

Cover shows Bethune leading children up a hill

Mary McLeod Bethune

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This is the challenging and inspired true story of a little girl who was determined to learn to read, and who went on to be a teacher, the founder of a college, an adviser to statesmen, and a great humanitarian. Mary McLeod Bethune was the fifteenth child of hardworking and god fearing parents. She was the first of their children to be born free. Her ancestry was wholly of African origin, a point of pride throughout her life.

Mrs. Bethune worked untiringly to restore—through education—her people’s faith in the magnificent heritage that is rightfully theirs. During the many years of and tribulation, she refused to give up her fondest dream—her own school for Negro children. And, as a shining monument to her hard work and faith, she has given to black youth the thriving institution of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Thurgood Marshall: From His Early Years to Brown by Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark

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Editorial reviews:

“Michael Davis and Hunter Clark have crafted a thoughtful, carefully researched and focused biography.” —USA Today

“Well-written, informative and lively.” —People

“Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark offer a masterfully written tale of an American legend.” — Gannett News Service

“Filled with the same fire, passion and humor that drove Marshall’s life, Thurgood Marshall is a revealing portrait of a pioneering lawyer.” —National Black Review

This ebook edition is the first half of the 1992 print edition of “Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench.” This new edition covers Thurgood Marshall’s youth, education, and the legal strategies he used, and the cases he argued leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The reviews above are from the print edition.

Publisher’s Note:
Chapter 1 describes Thurgood Marshall’s place in history.
Chapter 2 explains the challenges Marshall and the attorneys of the N.A.A.C.P were to face as they built the precedents that led to the Brown decision.
Chapter 3 is about Marshall’s childhood in Jim Crow Baltimore, and is probably the best starting point for high school students who want to begin with a straight-forward story of the life of a courageous leader. This chapter lends itself to writing assignments such as “Compare your public school years to what Thurgood Marshall experienced in Baltimore.” Not only will students have to read the chapter to complete the writing assignment, but there will be space for their own voices in the assignment. They may find this comparison more interesting than a book report.
Chapter 4 describes his years in Howard University Law School, and the work of his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, who saw how the law school and its graduates could fight racial injustice.
Subsequent chapters describe the work Marshall did on the cases leading up to the Brown decision, his civil rights work in the South, and his push for fair treatment of Black G.I.s during the Korean War.

Cover showing Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall: His Triumph in Brown, His Years on the Supreme Court

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Editorial Reviews:

“Michael Davis and Hunter Clark have crafted a thoughtful, carefully researched and focused biography.” —USA Today

“I highly recommend Thurgood Marshall by Mike Davis and Hunter Clark. This impressive book captures the sweeping drama and courageous struggles that have filled Thurgood Marshall’s life and career. The story of Justice Marshall is that of one of the greatest Americans in the twentieth century. Davis and Clark provide a compelling portrait of Marshall’s immense humanity and integrity in this fine biography.” —Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta.

“Thurgood Marshall is a giant of a man at a time when giants are scarce and desperately needed. This wonderful biography takes his measure.” —(Rev.) Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

“Davis and Clark have given us an engagingly written and conscientiously researched biography of a twentieth-century icon. It should be widely read and much discussed by all who care about the large, principled issues Justice Marshall’s life embodies.” —David Levering Lewis, author of W. E. B. Dubois: Biography of a Race

“Michael B. Davis and Hunter R. Clark have written an interesting and informative biography of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall directed toward a general audience. The current work, with its fluid, readable style, reflects the authors’ backgrounds in the popular press, where both have published extensively.”—Mississippi Quarterly

This ebook edition is the second half of the 1992 print edition. This new edition covers Thurgood Marshall’s victory in Brown, the resistance to the Brown decision, and his years on the Supreme Court. The reviews above are from the print edition of 1992 titled, Thurgood Marshall:Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench.

 

Photo of Abbott and Newsboys

The Lonely Warrior: The Life and Times of Robert S. Abbott

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In May 1905 Robert S. Abbott started publishing the Chicago Defender. The paper attacked racial injustice, particularly lynching in the south. The Defender did not use the words “Negro” or “black” in its pages. Instead, African Americans were referred to as “the Race” and black men and women as “Race men and Race women.” Many places in the south effectively banned the paper, especially when, during World War I, Abbott actively tried to convince southern blacks to migrate to the north. Abbott managed to get railroad porters to carry his papers south and he ran articles, editorials, cartoons -even train schedules and job listings to convince the Defender’s southern readers to come north. The “Great Northern Migration,” as it was called in the Defender, resulted in more than one million blacks migrating north, about 100,000 of them coming to Chicago. The Defender was passed from person to person, and read aloud in barbershops and churches. It is estimated that at its height each paper sold was read by four to five African Americans, putting its readership at over 500,000 people each week.

Son of ex-slaves, Abbott passed from small-town obscurity to national preeminence, due neither to great wealth nor hereditary status, but by sheer character, determination and imagination. He was a crusading journalist, who ultimately developed into a national leader, and, in the process, became a millionaire. As a newspaper editor, he influenced and molded the opinions of millions of Negroes in the United States, and therefore his career is of unique interest—indeed, his extraordinary achievement is a triumphant American success story.

The roots of greatness should be sought in a man’s formative years. Until now, most Negroes who have achieved anything noteworthy seemingly have no traceable background—notably Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver—and like Topsy seem merely to have “growed up.” But Abbott’s accomplishments represent continuity of family enterprise and perseverance. However, the purpose of this volume is not at all genealogical. Essentially, this is a biography of a people, for Abbott’s life and times spanned the most triumphant period of the Negro in the United States. Born three years after the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation, he lived to see and chronicle the spectacular progress of his people.

In the burgeoning economic times of the 1920s, with hundreds of new products and the growth of advertising, the Defender became an economic success and Abbott became one of the first African American millionaires.

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Flight to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad by Henrietta Buckmaster

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This is a story of almost unbelievable heroism and great daring, told with gusto and sincerity. It is told through the lives of courageous men and women—some of them known to us by name; most of them, unknown.

The Underground Railroad maneuvered the escape of Southern slaves to the North. It was carried on at first by a handful of people: Quakers, ministers, farmers, journalists, the escaped slaves themselves. The movement spread, and eventually the network extended from Georgia to Iowa, from Alabama to Canada.

The North Star was the slave’s hope . . . “keep on going north, and if you do not die, you will find freedom.” Going north meant careful planning, hairbreadth escapes at night, slow journeys through swamps and forests, careful disguises along open roads. It meant hunger, weariness, and dread. But the rewards of freedom from slavery were worth all the suffering.

Henrietta Buckmaster has told this little-known story against a background of the times.

But history is made by people. So Flight to Freedom is the story of people: Harriet Tubman, Levi Coffin, Wendell Phillips, Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass—and Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose vivid picture of slavery hastened the climax of a conflict that had been brewing since the first slaves were brought to these shores from Africa in chains.

It is a glorious story the author tells, a dramatic chapter in our history. It is a story that is not yet finished.

Book Cover with Text the Fire in the Flint

The Fire in the Flint by Walter F. White

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In this novel Kenneth Harper a southern born but northern trained African American physician returns from World War I to start a medical clinic and practice in southern Georgia.  He is flush from his good treatment by whites in the north and in Europe so he expects such treatment in the south.  His brother warns him but he soon learns that southern white treatment for “negroes” will not allow him to set up the clinic for all that he wants to.  The novel is the story of his slow downfall as he finds out that even sympathetic whites will not challenge the racism of their colleagues, runs afoul of the Ku Klux Klan, has his brother lynched and his sister raped by white men.  He ends being lynched himself while killing some whites in the process. The novel was published in 1924 and met with success. He tried unsuccessfully to have the novel turned into a play or movie.

As a member of the NAACP, Walter White investigated lynchings and worked to end segregation. He was the organization’s executive secretary from 1931 to 1955. White was also a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance. His books included A Man Called White, and Flight, Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch.

The Long Black Schooner: The Voyage of the Amistad

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Directions on how to email this file to your Kindle device are here.
To add this mobi file to your Kindle for PC software to read the chapters on your computer, see these instructions .

The Kindle Personal Document Service allows teachers, or librarians to send a mobi file to up to 15 student Kindle email addresses at a time.

With the Calibre app, you and your students can read this ebook in epub format on computer screens. By changing the background color, and enlarging the font, the Calibre experience is reasonable. On Chromebooks you will need to use an ereading app which the Chromebook will provide when it sees the epub file.

Men, women, boys, girls—all are chained together on the slave ship Amistad. Only yesterday they were free in their beloved African villages. Then slave catchers kidnapped them, and are taking them in chains across the sea to be sold.

But Cinque, their leader, has an iron file….

On the night of June 30, 1839, the slaves cut their chains and take over the ship. Here is the true story of a breathtaking and little-known event in American history.

Here is what one reader had to say in a review on Amazon:

The book tells the story surrounding the Amistad. However, it is told in a way that is appealing to both youth and adults. The language is simple and the story is straightforward. There is no historical gobbly-gook here.

I found the book to be rather interesting, quite informative, and fairly easy to read (I read it in less than two days). It makes a great gift for any young history buff or anyone who is interesting in learning more about the Amistad but who hasn’t studied much history.

Wanted Poster on Book Cover

Free: Revolts, Resistance and Emancipation by Dorothy Sterling. Grade Level is 9.1

Here is the story of the slavery issue from the first slave traders through the African-American part in early American history and the Civil War, and the events and people who played a part in the history-making document, the Emancipation Proclamation. Read about Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner who led revolts, and the settlements of runaways in Florida, and other forms of resistance. Written for a young adult audience, the Flesh-Kincaid reading level is 9.1 which makes it accessible to many high school students.

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The fastest way to read the mobi file on your Fire tablet is to open the Silk browser and download it to your tablet. When you click on the file, it will open on your Fire device as a normal Kindle book. You will find it in the Downloads folder on your tablet. Some of the Kindle features such as annotating will not be available. After all you found it for free.

If you are using an earlier Kindle e-reader when the browser is less robust and you don’t use it very often, you may need to email the file to your device. Directions on how to email this file to your device are here.
To add this mobi file to your Kindle for PC software to read the chapters on your computer, see these instructions, or use Readium which is mentioned below. And of course, you will find directions on the web about how to sideload mobi files to your devices.

The Kindle Personal Document Service allows teachers, or librarians to send a mobi file to up to 15 student Kindle email addresses at a time.

With the Readium app, you and your students can read this ebook in epub format on computer screens. By changing the background color, and enlarging the font, the Readium experience is reasonable.

Book Cover with Burning Bus

Freedom Ride, Civil Rights and Non-Violent Resistance by James Peck

From the Forward by James Baldwin:
“The moral of [the Freedom Ride story is that, how­ever painful it may be for us to change, not to change will be fatal.”

From the Introduction by Lillian Smith:
“This is the vivid, detailed account of how a few people, accidentally or spontaneously, found the symbols that speak to everybody: the need to eat, the need to move—how they went at it, what they endured, how they changed within themselves. I am glad Jim Peck, who is a courageous and thoughtful participant in ideas and acts, wrote it down.”

After reading this work in manuscript. Lillian Smith wrote to James Peck: “I like your book very much. I was moved by it on certain pages, very deeply; and relived much of what I already knew about it.”

This vivid, deeply moving story, Freedom Ride, tells for the first time in book form of the nonviolent action to end segregation that was penetrating the South in the early 60s. Before its on-the-scene report of the 1961 Freedom Rides, it tells of the author’s experience with Jim Crow Bibles used in Southern courts, of segregated benches, shoe-shine stands, buses, churches, prisons, restaurants, rest rooms and waiting rooms.
It tells of a swimming pool in a New Jersey amusement park where white people could enter simply with the pur­chase of a ticket, but where blacks had to apply for membership to the “Sun & Surf Club” and wait forever. It tells of the student jail-ins, where decent citizens preferred to submit themselves to imprisonment rather than give up their “fightless fight” for humanity. And finally it tells of the now historic first Freedom Ride.
The author, James Peck, is a man whose quiet but passionate concern for human rights earned him fifty-three stitches in his head when, in Birming­ham, Alabama, he and the other Free­dom Riders tried to show that blacks and whites had the right to eat together in a bus terminal lunchroom. Here is his personal report.

To read this ebook using Google Play Books on your tablet, or iBooks on an iPad, download this epub format.


To read on a device from Amazon, or on the Kindle app on your computer, here is the ebook in mobi format.

Directions on how to email this file to your device are here.
To add this mobi file to your Kindle for PC software to read the chapters on your computer, see these instructions .