African American culture draws upon a rich body of traditions from Africa, Latin America, and the South, and folklore is fundamental to the African American heritage. The first work of its kind, this definitive encyclopedia comprehensively overviews African American folklore. Included are roughly 700 alphabetically arranged entries by more than 100 expert contributors on such topics as folktales, music, art, foodways, spiritual beliefs, proverbs, and many other subjects. Entries cite works for further reading, and the encyclopedia concludes with a bibliography of major works. African American folklore has played a dominant role in shaping the spirit and soul of the Americas. African American folk traditions are a vital part of contemporary society and continue to shape art, music, film, literature, and religion. Because folklore is more than just a body of tales and instead encompasses all of traditional culture, it is central to African American daily life. The first work of its kind, this authoritative encyclopedia comprehensively overviews African American folklore. While the encyclopedia gives special attention to music, art, folktales, spiritual beliefs, foodways, proverbs, and other topics central to African American folklore, it also discusses the Caribbean and African roots of traditional African American culture. Features; Draws upon the work of more than 100 expert contributors.; Includes roughly 700 alphabetically arranged entries.; Covers music, art, folktales, spiritual beliefs, foodways, proverbs, customs, traditions, and other topics.; Entries cite works for further reading.; Includes an alphabetical list of entries.; Provides a list of entries grouped in topical categories.; Lists archives and research centers.; Offers convenient access through an extensive index.; Entries are fully cross-referenced.; Presents a selected, general bibliography of major works on African American folklore.; Includes entries on the Caribbean and African roots of African American folklore.; Overviews the presence of African American folklore in contemporary popular culture.; Contains a generous selection of illustrations of all types of African American folklore. Benefits; Helps students understand the heart of African American culture.; Provides an essential context for African American history, literature, music, and art.; Promotes respect for cultural diversity.; Celebrates our nation's African American heritage.; Relates African American culture to its Caribbean and African influences.; Serves as a model for student writing.; Develops research skills by directing students to additional resources.; Helps students learn about African American history through popular culture. Students researching any aspect of the African American experience will find this encyclopedia to be a valuable resource, as will their teachers. And because African American life is central to American society, anyone interested in American Studies will treasure this reference work.