Before Palmer C. Hayden was able to pursue his interest in painting, he worked as an errand boy, circus worker, porter, sandhog, military cartographer and mail carrier. Even after he began painting professionally, Hayden continued to work as a janitor. His lack of access to the traditional education and training for artists made it difficult to forge a career in art. Hayden’s experience had much in common with other contemporary and later African American artists. However, many would enjoy greater sources of encouragement, both personally and professionally speaking. This biographical dictionary explores the challenges that 66 African American artists have faced in pursuing their individual careers. The selection includes painters, sculptors, printmakers, designers, photographers and performance artists. Most are living artists, but the coverage includes notable deceased figures, from Henry Ossawa Tanner to Jean-Michel Basquiat. A unique feature of this collection is its emphasis on the continuing connection of American artists to Africa. This takes several forms. There is much discussion of the inspiration American born artists have found in African art or in travel to the continent. However, the inclusion of 18 African artists who have immigrated to the United States most underscores this continuing cultural exchange. The selection of foreign-born artists includes individuals from North African, Islamic cultures as well as artists from the Sub-Sahara, particularly Nigeria and Ethiopia. These include Wangechi Mutu, Ghada Amer, Toloupe Filani and Ouattara Watts. Emma Amos, John Thomas Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Bing Davis, and Hale Woodruff are among the significant American born artists discussed. The biographical entries examine the subject’s significant works, early life, training and professional career. Thematic and stylistic choices as well as critical reception are reviewed. Relationships to other artists are noted. Also described in conjunction to their art are the writings of Romare Beardon, Okwui Enwezor and others who written widely as art theorists and critics. Each entry lists a selection of resources for further information, including museums or sites where the artist’s works are on display. The general index includes titles of specific works and exhibitions, as well as artist names and general concepts. Portrait photographs and a selection of 17 color reproductions support the text. While one might wish for more reproductions, this guide provides interested readers with an excellent introduction to the basis of contemporary African American art. This guide will serve a wide audience in high school, public and academic libraries.