The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations

Ira Berlin, Author . Viking $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-670-02137-6

Berlin (Many Thousands Gone ) offers a fresh reading of American history through the prism of the “great migrations that made and remade African and African American life.” The first was “the forcible deportation” of Africans to North America” in the 17th and 18th centuries, followed by their “forced transfer” into the American interior during the 19th century. Then came the migration of the mid-20th century as African-Americans fled the South for the urban North, and the arrival of continental Africans and people of African descent from the Caribbean during the latter part of the 20th century. Berlin sees migration and the reshaping of communities to their new environments as central to the African-American experience. Movement is a matter of numbers, and Berlin provides them in detail kept fully readable by his attention to the cultural products of the shifts. In particular, he follows the church as it moves, the music as it takes on new themes, and kinship as it broadens. Berlin's careful scholarship is evidenced in his rich notes; the ordinary reader will be pleased by the fluidity and clarity of his prose. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-14-311879-4
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-18989-4
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-18935-1
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