W. E. B. DuBois's history of the black peoples examines how the empires of Ethiopia and the Niger formed, and how black culture developed across Africa and later the United States and Latin America.
Ranging across thousands of years of black history, this book is a superb introduction for the student or reader. We hear how black peoples rose from their early origins to become a proud and cultured ethnicity. How the early tribal societies migrated around Africa, and how some of these settled and flourished into civilizations or joined societies such as Egypt, is revealed.
DuBois then establishes how the slave trade resulted in many black peoples being taken from their homes after being sold into slavery. The market for black slaves was enormously profitable; yet it was not until the Arab conquests of Africa that the native peoples knew of it. Later, when the Europeans used their shipping routes to create the 'Slave Triangle', the volumes of black slaves dramatically increased. The author ruefully notes that once the British became involved, the importation of slaves grew enormously.
The final chapters show how, following the abolition of slavery, black populations made a new life as emancipated, free peoples. Many intermixed in South American societies, and in the Caribbean countries with majority black populations established distinctive cultures and traditions.
Placing emphasis upon the difficulties which black peoples encountered, DuBois closes his history by noting the myriad injustices that black Americans still struggle against. Racism and discrimination was rife, and failures for the Reconstruction were blamed solely upon blacks themselves. In concluding, DuBois poignantly notes:
"Most men in this world are colored. A belief in humanity means a belief in colored men."