Featured Book of the Week (May 11, 2009 – May 17, 2009)
Title: Forgotten Lives: African Americans In South Dakota
Author: Betti Vanepps-Taylor
Purchase the book at: Amazon.com
This book looks very interesting. I personally plan on reading it this summer. We always hear about African American in the south, east and western areas of the United States of America but history teaches us very little about the prominent African Americans in the Great Plains states. We don’t make up a large percentage of the population in those states but like they say, it’s the quality not the quantity that matters.
Let me know what you think about this book. Both your initial impressions and, if you decide to read it, what you think about the book afterwards. A description of the book from the publisher/author is below:
Throughout South Dakota’s history, African Americans have been vastly outnumbered by their white and American Indian neighbors. Underreported as well, they have been misrepresented by historians, journalists, even census-takers. However, from the first African Americans to visits the Northern Great Plains as fur traders in the early 1800s to twentieth-century voting-rights advocates or professionals recruited after World War II, African Americans have pioneered here. They have participated in the state’s successes and failures and contributed to its rich history.
In Forgotten Lives, Betti VanEpps-Taylor teases these South Dakotans’ stories out of newspaper accounts, census records, early social histories, and oral histories. Her insights into the lives and communities of this small but vital minority span two centuries and focus on the well known as well as the local. Prominent figures such as York, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition, and Oscar Micheaux, the acclaimed filmmaker, fit neatly into the timeline, alongside less-famous laborers, river men, soldiers, seamstresses, business owners, miners, lawyers, homesteaders, midwives, doctors, and town leaders. Their stories offer much to twenty-first-century Americans still struggling to come to grips with their racial history.