Four Hundred Souls, is an essential collection that carries lesser-known historical occasions to the front line. It has noteworthy contributions from different authors, journalists, activists, historians, and many more. Starting with the first slave transport that brought Africans to America in 1619. These 90 leading Black voices present to us a remarkable history lesson that effectively balances historical and individual context. ⁣I bought Four Hundred Souls, trusting that it would contain a couple of fascinating stories. Stories that will help give more context and background to what we know about Black History Month. It ended up being considerably more educational, painful, moving, and motivational than I suspected.

Four Hundred Souls describes itself as “A Community History,” and that is actually the best description I could think of. The tales that are told by many various authors, don’t attempt to tell a cohesive overall narrative, or even essentially adhere to an overall subject. It rather are basically records of day to day routines experienced in the past 400 years. You will find some astonishing and historically significant contributions to America. Also you will find some painful and miserable stories that feature the injustice of the past. The poems included all through the book add some beauty and now and then some hope. despite certain difficulties that are practically impossible for current Americans to envision.

I feel that this sort of sharing of individual records, truly adds a human component to history. It is one thing to hear about how African Americans were dealt with insensitively. However, it is something else to find out about a SPECIFIC individual, and what their life was like. It helps to remind us that these where people, much the same as we are. They also had expectations and dreams and fears. This makes the pain that they experienced appear to be more striking and genuine, to me at least.

Telling stories like this, somehow or another feels like it is honouring the traditions of some of the African cultures.

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Book Review Podcast ( Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 )