THE NATHAN I. HUGGINS LECTURES
Cover: The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States, from Harvard University PressCover: The Long Emancipation in HARDCOVER

The Long Emancipation

The Demise of Slavery in the United States

Ira Berlin ranks as one of the greatest living historians of slavery in the United States… The Long Emancipation offers a useful reminder that abolition was not the charitable work of respectable white people, or not mainly that. Instead, the demise of slavery was made possible by the constant discomfort inflicted on middle-class white society by black activists. And like the participants in today’s Black Lives Matter movement, Berlin has not forgotten that the history of slavery in the United States—especially the history of how slavery ended—is never far away when contemporary Americans debate whether their nation needs to change.—Edward E. Baptist, The New York Times Book Review

The cause of the end of slavery in the U.S. is a long, complex story that is usually, in the general reading public’s mind, simplified by ‘the Civil War ended it.’ In this remarkably cogent, impressively thought-out, and even beautifully styled account by a university historian, we are given emphatic witness to his long-held professional conviction that ‘freedom’s arrival,’ as he phrases it, was not due to a ‘moment or a man’ but because of a process that took a century to unfold.—Brad Hooper, Booklist (starred review)

A short, fast-paced interpretive history of the transition of African Americans from chattels to free persons. [Berlin] challenges previous scholars who identify both a ‘moment’ and a human factor that sparked emancipation—generally either President Abraham Lincoln or the South’s slaves—for initiating slavery’s overthrow. Instead, Berlin takes the long view in charting emancipation’s circuitous metamorphosis, from the late 18th century until the 1860s… In the end, Berlin credits black persons, north and south, for gradually but forcefully removing slavery’s stain from the fabric of American life.—J. D. Smith, Choice

Berlin lucidly illuminates the ‘near-century-long’ process of abolition and how, in many ways, the work of emancipation continues today.Publishers Weekly