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The Making of African American: American Historiography

Historiography is the study of certain specific historical subjects as well as the styles employed. During the changing shift from the traditional to early period historiography was used to refer to the writing of history where words were associated with historians. Historiographers trace historical subjects from their initiation and how they change over time. Subjects of historiography may vary widely from those of religion, politics and economics. In fact, subjects of historiography include States history such as China and religion history including Catholicism and Islam (Berlin, p. 52. Historiography also study subjects on genre basis for instance political genres, social genres and academic genres.

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History is always an incessant dialogue between the past and present. In teaching, changing methods and areas of interest in historiography must be incorporated in both planning and teaching. For example, in Berlin work change from use of military ideas to current use of political ideas signifies development in that arena. In addition, current change and development in politics is also a major factor to consider. The link that the author establishes between traditional immigration and current immigration play an important role in showcasing the shifting nature of historiography (Berlin, p. 55.

In fact, Ira berlin’s book captures different types of history from the time of the great migrations induced by slavery to migrations, running to frontiers up to the present day situation of the black people of America. He captures the different authors each with his historical account of a given phenomena about the life of blacks in America. The making of African-American by Ira berlin indicates the transition of blacks from slavery to free people. He analyses the different transition periods of Africans. He details the setting free of slaves in what is called the Emancipation proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Although it is not clear whether the slaves set their own path, it is evident that slaves participated in determining the outcome of the end results for the struggles that have been mounted. The civil war, growing reliance of the Union army on blacks, escalating opposition to oppression in the north, the objection idealism and congress radicals played a great role in the emancipation of the slaves. Ira Berlin states that slaves played a key role in their emancipation. There arose controversy on whether the move was self-emancipation and its authorship among historians (Berlin, p. 57. The confusion among Americans on the authorship of some of the historical accounts stems from the fact that most Americans do not understand their history, a fact that Ira Berlin observes.

Ira Berlin suggests that the history on emancipation s crucial in understanding the dynamics of the the interconnectedness of the destiny of the black Americans. Through years of slavery, civil war, racial segregation, struggle for equality that led to ascending of Lincoln and ultimately the elevation of a Black man to the Presidency. The enactment of the Voting Rights Act and Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 paved way for the change in the political landscape of the Black Americans. These bills saw many blacks being voted both in the Senate and House of Representatives and in 2009, a black man became the US president. These bills also helped to transform the lives of many African Americans in that it recognized all people to be equal through abolishing the rule of state origins. It also revolutionized migrations to the United States (Berlin, p. 66).

Before the bills were passed and adopted, America was no land for immigrants. Their number had plummeted to record the lowest number of immigrants ever in the United States due to the prohibitive laws that existed before. The bills revolutionized America with the following decades recording numerous numbers of legal immigrants. In 1980s alone, America recorded 7.3 million immigrants entering the United States legally (Berlin, p. 70. The numbers continued to increase that by 21st cemtury, America was receiving twice the number of immigrants as compared to that of 1965. The bills not only changed new arrivals to USA but it also changed their behaviors, something that historians had not anticipated.

The change in the number of African Americans in USA was even felt in church congregations. In New York, immigrants composed well over a third of the whole black population. The Roman Catholic has recorded increasing numbers of people of African origin in their congregation. Current immigrants in America are not proud of their origin as they shun using the name and deny it openly. After the passing of the laws, immigrants from other countries, the Caribbean, India and Asia started flocking in. these immigrants form societies and organization that depict their country and tribes of origins. Ira Berlin notes that history has a lot of significance when issues of turn to struggles. Differences emerge between historical African Americans and literal African Americans. The differences arising as to who owns African history and what it means to be a black American has spanned over the years (Berlin, p. 62).

In conclusion, Berlin work provides the historical explanation of the birth of an African-American culture which is based on the four great migrations of different immigrants from all over the world (p. 67). The author provides the political, social and economic development undergone by the immigrants to reach where they are today. The four great immigrations depicted detail a series of movements from the forced slavery to the free movement that changed an alien environment into a home that they are deeply presently rooted in.

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Works Cited

Berlin, Ira. The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations. New York, NY: Viking press, 2010.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 22). The Making of African American: American Historiography.

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"The Making of African American: American Historiography." StudyCorgi, 22 Dec. 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "The Making of African American: American Historiography." December 22, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Making of African American: American Historiography." December 22, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Making of African American: American Historiography'. 22 December.

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