New Books on the History Shelf

Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African American history and gossip in question and answer format: Who was the first African American? What was the second Middle Passage? Did black people own slaves? Why was cotton king? Who was the first black president in North America? How much African ancestry does the average African American have? Who really invented "the talented tenth"? What were the biggest acts of betrayal within the enslaved community? Who was the first black American woman to be a self-made millionaire? 

When Sir Walter Raleigh set out to South America to find the legendary city of El Dorado, he paved the way for an endless series of adventurers who would struggle against the harsh reality of South America's wild jungles. Six decades later, when a group of English gentlemen expelled from England chose to establish a new colony there, they named the settlement in honor of its founder--Sir Francis Willoughby. Located in the lush landscape between the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, in what is now Suriname, Willougbyland experienced one of colonialism's most spectacular rises. But as planters and traders followed explorers, and mercenaries and soldiers followed political dissidents, the one-time paradise became a place of terror and cruelty, of sugar and slavery. 

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