Watch: Barack Obama and the Remaking of Black America

Ira Berlin, an American historian and author of The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations spoke at Vanderbilt University on April 16, 2010.

Berlin, whose talk was titled, “Barack Obama and the Remaking of Black America,” is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and has written extensively about the African American experience, including the history of slavery.

The Making of African America , recently reviewed in The New York Times , explores four major migrations of black people to America, beginning with the violent removal of Africans to North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. “Berlin provides an ambitious reinterpretation of three centuries of African American history beginning with the Middle Passage and ending with the immigration of Africans to the modern-day United States,” Gary Gerstle, the James G. Stahlman Profesor of American History, said.

Berlin’s first book, Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South , won the Best First Book Prize awarded by the National Historical Society. His other books, which have received numerous prestigious honors, include Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in Mainland North America and Generations of Captivity: A History of Slaves in the United States .

The former president of the Organization of American Historians, Berlin is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-NEWS

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