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The subject is Black history, but it is also everyone's history
on 31 October 2012
The History in an Hour series continues to turn out high quality books that grab the attention and spark interest in very diverse subjects.
And so it is with "Black History". The book is in the familiar "History in an Hour" format with a couple of pages of introduction, the main narrative peppered with illustrations, short biographies of all the major characters involved and finally a chronology of events.
With a short book some events that happened over years are covered in a couple of brief paragraphs yet there is still time for detailed facts which can illustrate with fascinating facts. I was amazed to read that London in 1760 had a population that was 3-6% Black and after the War of Independence the British helped 4,000 Black people escape to Canada and Britain who had fought on the Royalist side. The gas mask of WW1 was invented by a Black man, it was not until 1967 the US Supreme Court ruled against laws banning inter-racial marriage which was the same year the first Black US mayors were elected.
This book introduces the reader to a long list of historical figures who were well ahead of their time yet managed to out manoeuvre the laws and values of the times in which they lived that may of otherwise constrained others, concluding with the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
For the purposes of this book Black History primarily relates to the struggle for equality in the face of adversity and ignorance which means a lot of the book revolves around the Black experience of the Caribbean and the United States with the familiar supporting stories of the European abolition movement but not leaving out other facts such as Denmark and Norway being the first countries to outlaw slavery in 1803. There is much more to Black history but that will be another book; can Harper Press produce "African History in an Hour"?
"Black History" is the subject name but it is also part of the history of all of our forefathers who as perpetrators, victims or improvers all have their footnote in history.
This should be read in conjunction with two other History in an Hour books: American Slavery: History in an Hour and The American Civil War: History in an Hour