Black American Leaders Critical Essays

Margaret B. Young


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Black American Leaders is a reference book more than it is a biography. For young adult readers who have no information about an individual, this book provides a starting point for further reading. The collection of sketches does not seem intended to be read straight through as a conventional book would be. There is no development of themes or matters of style; on the other hand, the biographical sketches presented are so brief and in so journalistic a style that there is no opportunity for interest to slacken before the reader reaches the end of the piece.

Young does not appear to have made an effort to portray her subjects in the ways that are usual in longer biographies. Although an occasional reference is made to a subject’s background or childhood, no formative influences are discussed, and no attempt is made to describe the development of personality or the progress of a career. All that is attempted is a brief summary of selected achievements. This lack of dwelling on any details or formative events in the lives of the people covered in Black American Leaders makes it difficult to determine the attitude of the author toward her subjects. The fact that they have been included in the book in the first place and the fact that the book is basically a listing of accomplishments, however, would indicate that the attitude of the author is favorable.

While brief sketches such as these are helpful in introducing people to...

(The entire section is 585 words.)