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Did you know that...

  • Ralph Bunche was the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Tony Dungy was the first African American NFL coach to win a Super Bowl game.

  • Eric Holder became the first African American to serve as United States Attorney General.

  • Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie were the first African Americans to win Grammy awards.

  • An African American doctor performed the first open-heart surgery.

Excluded from history books, overlooked in classrooms, and neglected by media, African Americans have long been denied an accurate picture of their contributions to our nation, from colonial days to the present. But times have changed and the record will be set straight. From the inventor of the traffic light and the gas mask to winners of an Oscar and the Olympic gold, this authoritative resource reveals over 450 "firsts" by African Americans--wonderful accomplishments achieved often despite poverty, discrimination, and racism.

Leaders in government, entertainment, education, science and medicine, the law, military, and in the business world, African Americans have made their mark. African American Firsts is a clear reflection of that prideful legacy, and a signpost to an even greater future.

"African American Firsts works, works well, and works brilliantly." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"For browsing or serious queries on great achievements by blacks in America." --Booklist

"Fascinating...an excellent source for browsing and for locating facts that are hard to find elsewhere." --School Library Journal

"Reveals African American history as Potter had never been taught in predominantly white schools." --Publishers Weekly

"I recommend this book, a tool with innumerable possibilities which will help individuals understand...the contributions and inventions of African Americans." --The late Dr. Betty Shabazz

Over 75 Pages of Photographs
Fully Revised and Updated

Joan Potter's nonfiction writing has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, which published more than fifty of her articles. She is the co-author of two books: The Book of Adirondack Firsts, and the children's book, African Americans Who Were First. Her personal essays appear in the anthologies Rooted in Rock, Living North Country, and Illness & Grace, Terror & Transformation, and in the Syracuse University literary journal, Stone Canoe. She has led writing workshops for Adirondack women and prison inmates, and has been teaching a memoir class since 1998 at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

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