An examination of African Americans' historical relationship with the natural world
With a basis in environmental history, this groundbreaking study challenges the idea that a meaningful attachment to nature and the outdoors is contrary to the black experience. The discussion shows that contemporary African American culture is usually seen as an urban culture, one that arose out of the Great Migration and has contributed to international trends in fashion, music, and the arts ever since. But because of this urban focus, many African Americans are not at peace with their rich but tangled agrarian legacy. On one hand, the book shows, nature and violence are connected in black memory, especially in disturbing images such as slave ships on the ocean, exhaustion in the fields, dogs in the woods, and dead bodies hanging from trees. In contrast, though, there is also a competing tradition of African American stewardship of the land that should be better known. Emphasizing the tradition of black environmentalism and using storytelling techniques to dramatize the work of black naturalists, this account corrects the record and urges interested urban dwellers to get back to the land.
Dianne D. Glave teaches in the department of history at Morehouse College. She is the coeditor of To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"This will interest young readers studying environmental history; an important addition for all library collections." -- Library Journal
"Draws on personal perspectives and oral and recorded histories to detail the ways that the history of Africans in America is rooted in the earth." -- Booklist
"I love it! Especially the juicy first-person accounts from enslaved and free black people that convey the depth of the relationship between them and the land . . . [The author] has done our country and the world an incredible service." -- Audrey Peterman, coauthor, with Frank Peterman, Legacy on the Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care
"In reclaiming the black heritage of the American landscape, Rooted in the Earth takes us beyond the hurt and struggle of people and nature and leaves us clean for the continuing journey like bare feet in the soil, fresh fruit, and sassafras leaf stems chewed like gum as a kid." -- Jarid Manos, author, Ghetto Plainsman; founder/CEO, Great Plains Restoration Council
"This book is a compelling look at American history and its impact on African Americans and their relationship to the natural world. As part of the up and coming majority it is their influence and political power that will determine the sustainability of America's environmental protection policies, which influence an entire planet." -- Dudley Edmondson, author, Black & Brown Faces in America's Wild Places
"For those who have felt that Blacks are unduly disconnected from the land, this book is both a roadmap and a welcome home sign." -- Majora, urban revitalization strategist and host, Eco-Heroes and The Promised Land
[P] Lawrence Hill Books / August 01, 2010
0.5" H x 9.0" L x 6.0" W (0.63 lbs) 178 pages