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Publisher's Summary

The first edition of Joel Augustus Rogers' now legendary 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro with Complete Proof, published in 1957, was billed as "A Negro 'Believe It or Not'". Rogers' little book was priceless because he was delivering enlightenment and pride, steeped in historical research, to a people too long starved on the lie that they were worth nothing. For African Americans of the Jim Crow era, Rogers' was their first black history teacher. But Rogers was not always shy about embellishing the "facts" and minimizing ambiguity; neither was he above shock journalism now and then.

With élan and erudition - and with winning enthusiasm - Henry Louis Gates Jr. gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Rogers' work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African, diasporic, and African American history in question-and-answer format. Among the 100 questions: Who were Africa's first ambassadors to Europe? Who was the first black president in North America? Did Lincoln really free the slaves? Who was history's wealthiest person? What percentage of white Americans have recent African ancestry? Why did free black people living in the South before the end of the Civil War stay there? Who was the first black head of state in modern Western history? Where was the first Underground Railroad? Who was the first black American woman to be a self-made millionaire? Which black man made many of our favorite household products better?

Here is a surprising, inspiring, sometimes boldly mischievous - all the while highly instructive and entertaining - compendium of historical curiosities intended to illuminate the sheer complexity and diversity of being "Negro" in the world.

©2017 Henry Louis Gates (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A collection of vignettes about the black experience in the United States and around the globe. In 1957, respected Pittsburgh Courier journalist Joel A. Rogers published a book, 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro with Complete Proof, based on research he had conducted for his columns...Gates, the prolific scholar and popularizer of black history, presents this book as an homage and update to the work of 'Mr. Rogers'.... The pieces range widely in chronology, theme, and geography, and his facts about the 'Negro' (the anachronism is intentional, part of the tribute to Rogers) most heavily emphasize the African-American experience but also explore Africa and the diaspora across the Americas and in Europe...Gates surprises...intrigues, and rarely disappoints." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Gates pens a corrective yet loving homage to a work of the same title published in 1957 by Joel A. Rogers, a largely self-educated black journalist and historian." (Publishers Weekly)

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