Still I Rise: A Cartoon History of African Americans

Roland Owen Laird, Jr., Author, Elihu Bey, Illustrator, Taneshia Nash Laird, With W. W. Norton & Company $21.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-393-04538-3
Often appealing and generally informative, this first book-length comics history of African Americans carries a very mild undercurrent of black nationalist racial pique. The necessarily compressed narrative by Roland and Taneshia Laird, who also created The Griots syndicated black comic strip, begins in Jamestown, Va., in 1618, examining the origins of New World slavery and early black rebellions (and alliances with poor whites) like the Bacon rebellion of 1676. From there, the book covers both well-known events (the three-fifths-of-a-man slavery compromise of 1787) and lesser-known periods (black elected majorities in many Southern legislatures by the 1870s), and most readers will likely encounter some previously unfamiliar information, although by the end the authors seem to be racing to cram in every black historical figure they can. Charles Johnson (winner of the 1990 National Book Award, for Middle Passage), a former professional cartoonist, contributes an excellent and equally unprecedented foreword documenting the history of black cartoonists like Ollie Harrington and Jackie Ormes. Sadly, Bey's skimpy black-and-white drawings have a rushed feel and are generally barely adequate (often they are wholly inadequate), and seriously lessen the impact of this otherwise notable work. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-22638-7
Paperback - 220 pages - 978-1-4027-6226-0
Paperback - 206 pages - 978-0-393-31751-0
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