On the Shoulders of Giants Summary and Reviews

On the Shoulders of Giants

My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld

On the Shoulders of Giants

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Book Summary

From 1920 to 1940, the Harlem Renaissance produced a bright beacon of light that paved the way for African-Americans all over the country. The unapologetic writings of W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, the fervent fiction and poetry of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, the groundbreaking art of Aaron Douglas and William H. Johnson, and the triumphant music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong gave voice and expression to the thoughts and emotions that Jim Crow segregation laws had long sought to stifle.

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Kareem has offered his own unique perspective to the story of the Harlem Renaissance. By doing so, he has provided a moving history of a cultural place and time that can be experienced by our children and grandchildren. As the saying goes, to know where you are going, you must know from whence you came. We came on the shoulders of giants." - Muhammad Ali.
"Besides being a great athlete, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most intelligent individuals I have ever met. The passion he has for his heritage is something that all African-Americans should be inspired by." - Jim Hill, CBS Sportscaster.
"Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has created his next sky hook with this newest literary effort. He has skillfully interwoven his two biggest passions-basketball and jazz-and provides a greater understanding of how closely related they are." - Spike Lee
"As I watch younger generations idolize sports and entertainment figures today, my greatest hope is that they will be sufficiently attracted to Kareem's iconic and legendary status to pick up On the Shoulders of Giants. It will help teach them who they are, how they arrived there and help them to take their own places in history." - James Briggs Murray, Curator, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
"During the Harlem Renaissance of the '30s, the African-American community responded to relentless oppression, segregation and disenfranchisement by exploding with an outburst of artistic and political achievement that has never been duplicated in American history. Perhaps Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's vivid and moving rendering of that time in On the Shoulders of Giants can inspire the next generation to connect to that rich artistic history and thereby overcome the 'get rich or die tryin' mentality to once again ascend to heights of accomplishment which truly manifests their capabilities." - Herbie Hancock.

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