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There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America
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There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This is the story of the violation of Black Africa and the bondage of its peoples in another land. Harding resurrects forgotten heroes and traces the struggle of their descendants to keep the spirit and dreams of an uprooted people alive.
Paperback, 472 pages
Published January 15th 1993 by Mariner Books (first published October 1981)
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Hannah Notess
I chose this book because it was at the top of the #CharlestonSyllabus page (, and I recognized the author's name as being the Mennonite pastor who helped Martin Luther King Jr. write his anti-Vietnam speech. Turns out that Vincent Harding was not only all those things but also a historian and an excellent writer. Given that this book wades through a significant amount of American history, beginning with the start of the transatlantic slave trade and cont ...more
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wow. Amazing! Harding's book is the harrowing story of the Black freedom struggle from the beginnings of slavery through to Reconstruction. The figure of the river of struggle allows him to reveal not just the main "crests" of the struggle - the Conventions, underground railroad, agitators like Douglass and Delany - but also its "undercurrents" - the clandestine religious and literacy meetings in the deep South, personal acts of rebellion here and there, and the myriad passions and contradiction ...more
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone who's interested in American History. Along with Howard Zinn, I'd say, this really will change the way you look at our history. ...more
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
EXCELLENT! Written in a poetic like fashion. This book further peaked my interest on the black experience and ultimately shaped my own current work on slavery, etc.
Ebony Jones-Kuye
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this book which gives historical information. I love history and gaining knowledge. This book gives you both! Thank you Vincent Harding for giving us this wonderful book to read!
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This 1981 book tells the history of slavery in America. Unlike most history books relating these events, Harding tells everything from the viewpoint of the Africans ripped from their native land and forced into labor against their will. He concentrates his efforts on the period from 1820 to 1865, and details all the many ways in which these nascent African-Americans fought against the institution, and against the wider racist society which permeated even the northern states where bondage was not ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wow, this is a must read. I gave it 4 stars because it is incomplete. The author intended to write a sequel.
Feb 27, 2008 marked it as to-read
Tisch & 10.5 E 185.615 H28 Suggested by Mel King
Larry Lamar Yates
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is, in my experience, the essential book on this topic, convincing, factual and exciting to read. It is a beautiful book.
Black History Month 2015
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Vincent Gordon Harding (PhD in History, University of Chicago) was an African-American historian and a scholar of various topics with a focus on American religion and society. A social activist as well, he was perhaps best known for his work with and writings about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom Harding knew personally. Besides having authored numerous books such as There Is A River, Hope and H ...more

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