Synopses & Reviews
Seventeenth-century sketches of Africa as it appeared to marauding European traders. Nineteenth-century slave auction notices. Twentieth-century sheet music for work songs and freedom chants. Photographs of war heroes, regal in uniform. Antebellum reward posters for capturing runaway slaves. An 1856 article titled “A Visit to the Slave Mother Who Killed Her Child.”
In 1974, Middleton A. Harris and Toni Morrison led a team of gifted, passionate collectors in compiling these images and nearly 500 others into one sensational narrative of the black experience in America: The Black Book.
Now in a deluxe 35th anniversary hardcover edition, The Black Book remains a breathtaking testament to the legendary wisdom, strength, and perseverance of black men and women intent on freedom. Prominent collectors Morris Levitt, Roger Furman, and Ernest Smith, as well as Middleton Harris and Toni Morrison (then a Random House editor, now a two-time Pulitzer Prize—winning Nobel laureate) spent months studying, laughing at, and crying over these materials-from transcripts of fugitive slaves trials and proclamations by Frederick Douglass and other celebrated abolitionists to chilling images of cross burnings and lynchings, patents registered by black inventors throughout the early twentieth century to vibrant posters from “Black Hollywood” films from the 1930s and 1940s.
A labor of love and a vital link to the richness and diversity of African American history and culture, The Black Book honors the past, reminding us where our nation has been, and gives flight to our hopes for what is yet to come. Beautifully and faithfully presented, and featuring a new Foreword and original poem by Toni Morrison, The Black Book remains a timeless landmark work.
Now in a deluxe 35th anniversary hardcover edition, "The Black Book" remains a breathtaking testament to the legendary wisdom, strength, and perseverance of black men and women intent on freedom. Features a new Foreword and original poem by Toni Morrison.
About the Author
"A friend introduced me to Middleton (Spike) Harris*
[a retired city employee], who became the chief author of the project. His collection of black memorabilia is extensive and his passion for the subject as intense as it is thorough...His friend Morris Levitt
, a retired public-school teacher and amateur black sports enthusiast, joined Harris on the project. So did Roger Furman
, an actor and director of New York's black New Heritage Repertory Theater.
Finally, Ernest Smith [a collector of black memorabilia since he was 14] also joined...All of these men have one thing in common: an intense love for black expression and a zest wholly free of academic careerism." (Toni Morrison, in
"Rediscovering black history," New York Times)
Toni Morrison is the author of numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature, most recently, the novel A Mercy. She twice has received the Pulitzer Prize–for Sula (1974) and Beloved (1988)–as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most recently the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, she lives in Rockland County, New York.