Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

by Ibram X. Kendi (Editor)

Other authorsKeisha N. Blain (Editor)
Hardcover, 2021




One World (2021), Edition: 1st Edition, 528 pages


"A "choral history" of African Americans covering 400 years of history in the voices of 80 writers, edited by the bestselling, National Book Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. Last year marked the four hundredth anniversary of the first African presence in the Americas--and also launched the Four Hundred Souls project, spearheaded by Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Antiracism Institute of American University, and Keisha Blain, editor of The North Star. They've gathered together eighty black writers from all disciplines -- historians and artists, journalists and novelists--each of whom has contributed an entry about one five-year period to create a dynamic multivoiced single-volume history of black people in America"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Hccpsk
With Four Hundred Souls, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain have set the standard for a historical survey of Blacks in America. They have taken the 400 years from 1619 to 2019 and separated them into five-year spans, then bestowed each segment to a writer to do as they please in two to five pages.
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There are personal essays, biographies, fiction, as well as straight historical writings. Offerings come from Black elites including Nikole Hannah-Jones, Clint Smith, Donna Brazile, Isabel Wilkerson, Angela Davis and so many more. If that’s not enough to entice readers, every 40-year segment is capped with a poem by other renowned writers like Ishamel Reed and Mahogany L. Brown. This is a book to devour or to savor in small doses over and over again--to refer back to throughout a lifetime. I cannot imagine a US History teacher who would not want this on a syllabus as not only a record of history but as a collection of incredible mentor texts for students to see the various ways to examine the past. Not only a must-read but a must-own for everyone.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC of this book.
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LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
At first glance, it's a bit overwhelming. But it is fairly approachable once you start. The "community-written" history covering 400 years of African-American history is a collection of short (3-5 pages) chronological essays describing key events and people well-known and not so much. Not a
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comprehensive history but it does what I believe it sets out to do: share less-known stories and history and the humanity behind them.
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LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
I loved the scope of this and how it builds upon itself to bring the reader to the present. One book will never be sufficient to tell such a broad history, but this volume does an admirable job telling significant parts of it. I was particularly excited to listen to the audio for the dozens of
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people selected to read. The only drawback was inherent to its format--being that it had so many authors, I was drawn to some essays more than others, and in that it felt a little uneven. But overall, it really is a tremendous read and provides fodder for further exploration.
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LibraryThing member jmchshannon
Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Baine is one of those books that is so difficult to describe. On the surface, it is nothing more than a collection of short stories and poems that tell the tale of Black Americans since the first enslaved African was brought to our shores. However,
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there is nothing superficial about this collection. Some essays provide new-to-me information about certain points in history, but all provide history from a very different point of view than the one commonly taught in history classes. Haunting and yet utterly fascinating, the pain of the last four hundred years permeates every essay and poem. Yet, all of them include a fierce pride at everything they have collectively overcome as well as an unbreakable will that shows how Blacks continue to thrive no matter what white people do to them.
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LibraryThing member Poprockz
Very interesting and informative.


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