The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations
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The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  73 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A leading historian offers a sweeping new account of the African American experience over four centuries

Four great migrations defined the history of black people in America: the violent removal of Africans to the east coast of North America known as the Middle Passage; the relocation of one million slaves to the interior of the antebellum South; the movement of more tha...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 21st 2010 by Viking Adult (first published December 22nd 2009)
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Lauren Albert
The first chapter suffered from abstract-itus but the book got considerably better when Berlin moved from theorizing to describing the different migrations and what they were like for the people who made them--willingly and unwillingly. Two of the migrations I was familiar with as would be many people with a general knowledge of American history--the middle passage from Africa and the flight from the south to the north. The second of the migrations, what Berlin calls the "2nd middle passage" was...more
Authoritative, incisive and current, if not overly original. Berlin recounts the history of Africans and their arrival and assimilation into America with sympathy, respect and tact. His strength is synthesis, not originality, however. Much of this material is common knowledge, a minor expounding of information that most of us have already learned in high school, the cursory analysis of Barack Obama's election notwithstanding. Not by any means a groundbreaking book, but majoring in the basics is...more
An insightful look at the history of immigration and migration people of African descent in the United States. Beginning from forced immigration during the slave trade, this book tracks the later movement of slaves from the Eastern Seaboard to the interior of the South, the subsequent migration of former slaves and their descendants to urban centers throughout the country, and now the immigration of asylees and other nationals from Africa and the Caribbean to the US in the late 20th and early 21...more
Berlin tells an old story in a new way. Building on the concept of generational change that is seen in his other works of synthesis (Generations of Captivity, etc.), Berlin examines Black identity formation across the centuries in the United States. The last chapter is particularly interesting because it accounts for changes in Black life since 1965. While most historians see that year as the capstone of the civil rights era, Berlin demonstrates that immigration reforms passed in that year have...more
The author traces four foundational periods in African-American history: arrival on slave ships, migration to the Mississippi Delta in the first half of the 19th century, migration north in the 20th century, and the arrival of immigrants from Africa in the last half of the 20th century. The book was very informative, but I felt that the lack of anecdotes made it somewhat dry. A good introduction for someone who is looking to learn more about the subject.
Jay Brian
a little dry when expounding historical statistics, but overall a good explanation of the African american cultural identity, especially insightful with the explanations of how music evolved alongside the major cultural migrations. this was actually a big part of the book that surprised me, perhaps the author would consider adding this concept to the books title.
Excellent Read. This book succinctly takes you through the painful journey that African Americans endured for centuries. It is an accurate account of what happened during the era of slavery, as well as how those experiences have affected the lives of Black people today.
A readable, approachable history of the four great migrations, with much to think about with respect to the influence of African immigrants on American and African American culture.
It was very well researched and interesting, if a little dry for me. The comparisons between the different African-American experiences were the most interesting part of the book for me.
Very interesting reassessment of African American history in terms of the themes of movement and place. Really appreciated the conciseness of the book and its ideas and research.
Tom Mueller
A detailed look at a microcosm of History; that of slavery in North America. Berlin's work covers the "peculiar institution" from the 17th through the 21th Century.
Excellent overview of African American History.
fine overview, not much news
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