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Milestone Documents in African American History

A groundbreaking approach to primary source documents, with in-depth expert analysis of the court cases, presidential and legislative initiatives, and speeches that tell the story of African American history.

Milestone Documents in African American History represents a unique and innovative approach to history reference. Combining full-text primary sources with in-depth expert analysis, the 124 entries in the set cover nearly four hundred years of African American history. The set includes primary sources from the time of the arrival of blacks in America in 1619 up to Cooper v. Harris in 2017. Documents range from letters and personal narratives to laws and legal cases, from proclamations and petitions to political speeches. The documents are reprinted as they originally appeared and many contain grammatical oddities and unusual spellings peculiar to the time of their writing.

The set is organized chronologically in four volumes:

  1. 1619-1852
  2. 1853-1900
  3. 1901-1964
  4. 1965-2017

Each entry follows the same structure using the same standardized headings. The entries are divided into two main sections: Analysis and Document Text. Entries headings include:

  • Overview: brief summary of the primary source document and its importance
  • Context: places the document in its historical framework
  • Timeline: chronicles key events surrounding the writing of the document
  • About the Author: presents a brief biographical profiles of the person or persons who wrote the document
  • Explanation and Analysis of the Document: consists of a detailed examination of the document text
  • Audience: discusses the intended audience of the document's author
  • Impact: examines the historical influence of the document
  • Questions for Further Study: study questions for students
  • Essential Quotes: key quotes from the document
  • Further Reading: articles, books, and websites for further research
  • Document Text
  • Glossary: defines important, difficult, or unusual terms in the document text

Each entry features the byline of the scholar who wrote the analysis. Readers should note that in most entries the Document Text section includes the full text of the primary source document. In the case of lengthy documents, key portions have been excerpted for analysis.

Features include 138 photographs and illustrations. Front matter consists of editors' introductions and a "Contributions" list while the back matter includes "Teachers Activity Guides" as well as an "Index of Documents by Category and a Cumulative "Subject Index."

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