Revelations: American History, American Myths

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At the time of his death in 1989, Nathan Irvin Huggins ranked among the most influential and important historians in America, a scholar who was universally hailed as the leading chronicler and critic of the Harlem Renaissance. Now, in Revelations, readers will find a celebration of Huggins' many contributions to American history. It offers a superb collection of his finest articles, reviews, and essays, works that span the entire spectrum of his thought on the African-American ...
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Overview


At the time of his death in 1989, Nathan Irvin Huggins ranked among the most influential and important historians in America, a scholar who was universally hailed as the leading chronicler and critic of the Harlem Renaissance. Now, in Revelations, readers will find a celebration of Huggins' many contributions to American history. It offers a superb collection of his finest articles, reviews, and essays, works that span the entire spectrum of his thought on the African-American experience.
Whether he is discussing the literary style of Langston Hughes, the leadership roles of W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Martin Luther King, Jr., or the African-American contribution to the "common culture" of America, Huggins is at his eloquent best, by turns passionate and poignant, witty and reflective. Among the many moving pieces, readers will find a tour of the slave castles of the West African coast in which Huggins describes places like Goree Island and Elmina as a collective and horrific Plymouth Rock of the African-American past. There is a powerful new introduction to his seminal book Black Odyssey, which assesses the major writings on slavery over the past two decades, and an illuminating look at the experience of free blacks in a slave society, whose rights were continually challenged or taken away. And, of course, Huggins' discussion of the Harlem Renaissance reveals the life of the city, the vibrancy that set the tempo and style for the decade that F. Scott Fitzgerald called "The Jazz Age." Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Duke Ellington--all were changing American culture in profound and permanent ways, transforming it into something fresh and new and forever different--something uniquely American.
Prepared by his widow, Brenda Smith Huggins, Revelations also features an insightful appreciation by Lawrence Levine that appraises Huggins's unique contribution to American history, and an envoi by Leon Litwack that paints a moving portrait of Huggins the man. Framed between is the fruit of a lifetime of reflection on topics as diverse as the art of Alain Locke, jazz, Paul Robeson, the Civil Rights Era, and the nature of history itself.

At the time of his death in 1990, Nathan Irvin Huggins ranked among the most influential and important historians in America. He was universally hailed as the leading chronicler and critic of the Harlem Renaissance. Here readers will find a celebration of Huggins' many contributions to American history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"When Nathan Huggins died in 1989, he was ranked among the most influential and important historians in American and universally acknowledged as the leading scholar of the Harlem Renaissance. This book, edited by his widow, contains a wonderful collection of his essays, reviews, and lectures, from 1970 to 1989....The pieces selected display his eloquence and compassion."--Booklist

"Nathan Huggins emerges as a towering contemporary figure in the field of African-American history. He has succeeded in combining a keen sense of the complexity of cultural achievement, a scholarly attention to facts and figures, a comprehensive perspective of the wider social context, and authentic empathy for the people concerned....The superb essays in Revelations, either by him or about him, fit together to proose a panoramic investigation of enduring and crucial issues, and to restore Huggins's own humanistic quest and commitments."--Professor Michel Fabre, Universite de la Sorbonne Nouvelle

"One after another, these pieces reveal a great deal about the American past and our ongoing struggles to come to terms with it....Again and again in subtle ways Huggins reminds us, gently but forcefully, that comprehending American history is impossible without understanding African-American history...and vice versa."--Peter H. Wood, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, Duke University

"To [Nathan Huggins], being a scholar in the modern world meant confronting the divisive issues that have fragmented American Studies since the 1960s, while still hoping for and working toward an ultimate synthesis. Revelations shows an active mind at work and constitutes a timely contribution to the serious study of the culture of the United States."--Werner Sollors, Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of Afro-American Studies, Harvard University

"Thanks to Brenda Smith Huggins' labor of love, Revelations: American History, American Myths, reintroduces us to a marvelous wealth of Nate Huggins' writings. Fine reading in themselves, they provide, as well, valuable, historical perspectives on current, racial challenges."--Derrick Bell, Visiting Professor, New York University Law School

Bonnie Smothers
When Nathan Huggins died in 1989, he was ranked among the most influential and important historians in America and universally acknowledged as the leading scholar of the Harlem Renaissance. This book, edited by his widow, contains a wonderful collection of his essays, reviews, and lectures, from 1970 to 1989. Some had been published; others were works-in-progress. According to Brenda Huggins, these selections were not organized, thematically or chronologically. The pieces selected display his eloquence and compassion, particularly those on the Harlem Renaissance, the literary style of Langston Hughes, and the leadership roles of historical figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey. There is a new introduction to his seminal work "Black Odyssey", a travel piece on the slave castles of the West African Coast, and an essay, by Lawrence Levine, that appraises Huggins' contribution to American history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195082364
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/6/1995
  • Pages: 304
  • Lexile: 1260L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Nathan Irvin Huggins was W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of History and Afro-American Studies at Harvard University and Director of the Du Bois Institute. Among his many published works, he wrote Harlem Renaissance, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and Black Odyssey: The Afro-American's Ordeal in Slavery.
About the Editor:
Brenda Smith Huggins is a professional actor and media coach. She is Maitre de Conferences, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Historical Odyssey of Nathan Irvin Huggins 3
2 Harlem on My Mind 21
3 Pilgrimage for Black Americans: The Slave Castles of West Africa 29
4 The Afro-American, National Character and Community: Toward a New Synthesis 36
5 Foreword to A World in Shadow 61
6 The Freeman Lectures 65
7 W.E.B. Du Bois and Heroes 80
8 Martin Luther King, Jr.: Charisma and Leadership 89
9 Black Biography: Reflections of a Historian 94
10 Herbert Gutman and Afro-American History 100
11 Alain Locke: Aesthetic Value-System and Afro-American Art 111
12 "Here to Stay" 115
13 The Purest Kind of a Guy 121
14 Integrating Afro-American History into American History 125
15 The Constitution and Civil Rights 135
16 Ethnic Americans 148
17 Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance 158
18 American History and the Idea of Common Culture 166
19 American Myths and Afro-American Claims 174
20 Humanities, Humanity, and History 187
21 Afro-Americans 204
22 Slavery and Its Defense 232
23 Plus Ca Change... 242
24 Passing Is Passe 245
25 Two Decades of Afro-American Studies at Harvard 247
26 The Deforming Mirror of Truth 252
27 Nathan Huggins: A Personal Memoir 284
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