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TheAfrican American National Biographypresents history through a mosaic of the lives of thousands of individuals, illuminating the abiding influence of persons of African descent on the life of this nation from the arrival of Esteban in Spanish Florida in 1529 through to notable black citizens of the present day. The original eight-volume set has now been expanded to twelve handsome volumes in its second edition, bringing the total number of lives profiled to nearly 5,000. TheAANBcontinues to grow along with the field of African American biographical research, providing for continuous updates to the online edition, each entry written and signed by distinguished scholars. This is a remarkable achievement, a tenfold increase over the number of biographies contained in 2004's award-winning and substantial African American Lives, and featuring such notable new entries as Cory Booker, C. Vivian Stringer, and Michelle Obama. In addition to Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr., theAANBincludes a wide range of African Americans from all time periods and all walks of life. Lives profiled include those already recognized as giants of black history, figures whose stories have never been told and that readers will be discovering for the first time, and living people who are shaping the era in which we now live. The names within are both famous and nearly-forgotten. In the words ofAANBeditor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "These stories, long buried in the dusty archives of history, will never be lost again. And that is what scholarship in the field of African American Studies should be all about."
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and Afro-American Studies, Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Harvard University, and Editor of The Harvard Guide to African American History.