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E176.1 .B73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Examining African-American civil rights from a unique vantage point, this remarkable volume dissects the troubled political relationship between African Americans and U.S. presidents. From slavery to the civil rights movement to affirmative actions, understand what happened and why--and where we're headed.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. From Booker's impassioned, well-documented perspective, African Americans' struggle for independence and political respect took on different challenges with each new U.S. president. Discussing each president separately (and sometimes in clusters from a historic period), Booker moves chronologically from Washington to Clinton, primarily focusing on the ways they fell short of supporting liberty and justice for all. Nearly all of them come off badly, yet even in the worst cases, Booker balances his arguments by reiterating that each president's stance was typical (or slightly more honorable) than most of the people of the time. Black-and-white photographs appear throughout the crisply written, authoritative text, which will make a fine addition to collections looking for materials for African American studies or political science classes. Notes and a thorough bibliography are appended. --Roger Leslie

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Booker has consulted numerous biographies and political commentaries to assemble this chronology that traces the progress of African Americans out of slavery to full citizenship. The actions and attitudes of all of our presidents toward black people have been carefully examined and extensively researched. There are fascinating juxtapositions of these leaders' views that show public support for more enlightened policies along with personal racism. Thomas Jefferson's ambivalence and hypocrisy toward slavery are well known, yet few readers may realize that while James Garfield proclaimed the Civil War to be God's retribution for the sin of slavery, he privately held a different view. He admitted in 1865 that he had a "strong feeling of repugnance when I think of the negro (sic) being made our political equal and I would be glad if they could be colonized, sent to heaven, or got rid of in any decent way." Booker determines that real progress for African Americans began with Franklin Roosevelt and gives much credit to Bill Clinton for improving race relations. Certainly, the last chapter on this subject has not been written with the recent election between Bush and Gore very likely to be analyzed in terms of racial politics. This book, with its meticulous explanations and examples for young people, will be a good precursor to that discussion.-Janet Woodward, Garfield High School, Seattle, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.