This book grew out of a series of articles which were published originally in Ebony magazine. The book, like the series, deals with the trials and triumphs of a group of Americans whose roots in the American soil are deeper than those of the Puritans who arrived on the celebrated “Mayflower” a year after a “Dutch man of war” deposited twenty Negroes at Jamestown.
This is a history of “the other Americans” and how they came to North America and what happened to them when they got here. The story begins in Africa with the great empires of the Sudan and Nile Valley and ends with the Second Reconstruction which Martin Luther King, Jr., and the “sit-in” generation are fashioning in the North and South. The story deals with the rise and growth of slavery and segregation and the continuing efforts of Negro Americans to answer the question of the Jewish poet of captivity: “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” This history is founded on the work of scholars and specialists and is designed for the average reader. It is not, strictly speaking, a book for scholars; but it is as scholarly as fourteen months of research could make it. Readers who would like to follow the story in greater detail are urged to read each chapter in connection with the outline of Negro history in the appendix.