Cover image for The historical and cultural atlas of African Americans
The historical and cultural atlas of African Americans
Asante, Molefi Kete, 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Macmillan ; Toronto : Collier Macmillan ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, [1991]

Physical Description:
viii, 198 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185 .A8 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
E185 .A8 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

On Order



This volume is a comprehensive spatial representation of the African-American population. It concentrates on the historical and cultural aspects within regional and national frameworks.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

This illustrated survey of the African American experience is divided into 13 chapters. The first 11 follow a broad chronological sequence, starting with a chapter on African origins and extending through the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The narrative is interrupted by groups of short biographical portraits of outstanding African Americans from various walks of life, usually accompanied by black-and-white photographs. A number of additional short biographies take up most of chapter 12, and the final chapter presents a statistical picture of the socioeconomic status of African Americans. The text is attractively supplemented by photographs, tables, graphs, and other illustrative material, including about 100 maps in color, mostly less than a full page. A four-page chronology of key dates and a two-page bibliography of selected references precede the index. Written for a popular audience, this not inexpensive volume should have been more carefully edited. Three index references for A. Philip Randolph lead to a photograph (with the name misspelled) and two brief mentions but not to any substantive account of his accomplishments. A picture of Crispus Attucks appears in a chapter where he is not mentioned, and the picture is not picked up by the index. The same is true with photographs of Lucy Stone and Lucretia Mott. Controversial theories are sometimes reported as fact, for example, that Africans arrived in Mexico as early as 1450 B.C. The four-color maps prepared for the volume by Mark Mattson of Temple University's cartographic lab cover a wide range of subjects (e.g., "Principal African Settlements of Colonial America," "Thirty Years of Lynchings," "African American Radio Stations"). They are a unique contribution, but there is no separate table of contents for the maps so they can only be found by browsing. Much of the information in this volume can be found in The Negro Almanac [RBB Ap 15 90], though in narrative or tabular form. For instance, the traditionally black colleges and African American radio stations are depicted on maps in the Atlas; in the Almanac they are listed. Some maps with unique information in the Atlas show the locations of post-Civil War Freedmen Aid Societies and major mosques of the Nation of Islam. The Statistical Record of Black America [RBB F 15 91] provides more extensive statistical data than chapter 13 of the Atlas, but it too is mostly in tabular form rather than on maps. While the maps in this attractive volume have some reference value, they primarily support the text. Therefore public, high school, and undergraduate libraries may want to add The Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans to their circulating collections rather than to the reference shelves. (Reviewed Sept. 1, 1991)

Publisher's Weekly Review

Asante, chairman of Temple University's African American studies department, teams up with award-winning cartographer Mattson to produce a map-filled chronicle of the African American experience. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This oversized (10 x 12), profusely illustrated book offers encyclopedic treatment of the African American experience from African origins to present-day social and economic realities. In addition to the printed text, which is written at the high-school level, the book contains numerous photographs, diagrams, and charts. But what distinguishes the work from similar sources, such as the Encyclopedia of Black America ( LJ 5/15/81), is its 65 informative and clearly drawn maps. Prepared by Mattson, an experienced cartographer, the maps emphasize historical trends (e.g., ``African Americans in the Wild West,'' ``Plantations of the Ante-Bellum South,'' ``Pre-Civil War Slave Economy''), while others furnish contemporary demographic data (``African American Families in Poverty, 1989'') and distribution information (``Location of African American Newspapers''). Occasional factual errors mar the book. For instance, the now-discredited story that black surgeon and blood bank pioneer Charles Drew bled to death in 1950 because an all-white hospital refused to admit him is repeated as fact. Nevertheless, the atlas will be a valuable addition to school and public library reference collections.-- Kenneth F. Kister, Tampa, Fla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This atlas, in a very simplistic style, offers a helpful overall view of black American history. The combined talents of Asante (known for numerous books that deal with intercultural communication) and Mattson (notable illustrator for similar atlases) help to bring validity to this work. Once one gets past the faulty proofreading and erratic order of entries, this atlas provides nice thumbnail sketches on important contributors to African American culture and advancement. The multicolored maps and graphs provide a healthy variety of statistical data; however, their practical usefulness to the average reader is questionable. Of particular interest are the annotated "important events" lists that accompany entries for several highlighted individuals in the text. Also, the four-page "Dates to Remember" section at the end of the book is quite valuable. The "atlas" format is unique, but the biographical information is readily available in numerous current texts. Recommended as a general reference source for public and community/junior college collections. -R. C. Dickey, University of North Texas