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African Americans




A Patient and Scholarly Biography of Paul Robeson

Martin Duberman's new book delves deep into the complicated political and artistic life of the African American actor and activist. Book critic John Leonard admires how exhaustive the biography is, and how it never shies away from difficult topics like Robeson's womanizing and depression.


"Philadelphia Fire" by John Edgar Wideman

Book critic John Leonard reviews the African American writer's new novel, set against the events surrounding the 1985 burning of the MOVE house in West Philadelphia by the Philadelphia police.


Fleshing Out the History of Frederick Douglass

Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews a new biography of the former slave, writer, and abolitionist by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William McFeely. The book fills in the many gaps and silences in all three of Douglass's autobiographies.


New Compilation Features Fifty Years Of Gospel

Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles reviews Classic African American Gospel, a Smithsonian Folkways "Classic" that spans over a half century of recordings. Featuring Reverend Gary Davis, Sonny Terry and others, the compilation illustrates a truly American musical tradition.


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