The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures
The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures were established by friends and colleagues of Nathan I. Huggins, the distinguished historian and first occupant of the W.E.B. Du Bois Professorship at Harvard University. Professor Huggins served as Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and as Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research (now the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research) until his untimely death in 1989. The purpose of this series is to bring distinguished scholars from this country or from abroad to deliver a series of three lectures focusing on topics related to African American history.
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.
The Problem of Race in the Twenty-first Century
“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,” W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1903, and his words have proven sadly prophetic. As we enter the twenty-first century, the problem remains—and yet it, and the line that defines it, have shifted in subtle but significant ways. This brief book speaks powerfully to the question of how the circumstances of race and racism have changed in our time—and how these changes will affect our future.
The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy
Like the canaries that alerted miners to a poisonous atmosphere, issues of race point to underlying problems in society that ultimately affect everyone, not just minorities. Now, in a powerful and challenging book, Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres propose a radical new way to confront race in the twenty-first century.
No Coward Soldiers: Black Cultural Politics in Postwar America
In a vibrant and passionate exploration of the twentieth-century civil rights and black power eras in American history, Martin uses cultural politics as a lens through which to understand the African-American freedom struggle. In the transformative postwar period, the intersection between culture and politics became increasingly central to the African-American fight for equality. In freedom songs, in the exuberance of an Aretha Franklin concert, in Faith Ringgold’s exploration of race and sexuality, the personal and social became the political.
Challenging the Boundaries of Slavery
Challenging the boundaries of slavery ultimately brought on the Civil War and the unexpected, immediate emancipation of slaves long before it could have been achieved in any other way. This imaginative and fascinating book puts slavery into a new light and underscores anew the desperate human tragedy lying at the very heart of the American story.
The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution
As the U.S. gained independence, a full fifth of the country’s population was African American. In this compact volume, Nash reorients our understanding of early America, and reveals the perilous choices of the founding fathers that shaped the nation’s future. Here is a powerful story of the nation’s multiple, and painful, paths to freedom.
The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom
Pulitzer Prize–winner Hahn challenges deep-rooted views in the writing of American and African-American history. Moving from 18th-century slave emancipations through slave activity during the Civil War and on to the black power movements of the 20th century, he asks us to rethink African-American history and politics in bolder, more dynamic terms.
How Free Is Free?: The Long Death of Jim Crow
From Jim Crow to the early 21st century, struggles over racism persist despite court decisions and legislation. Although a painful history to confront, this book inspires as it probes the enduring story of racial inequality and the ongoing fight for freedom in black America.
Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America
Alba argues that the social cleavages separating Americans into distinct, unequal ethno-racial groups could narrow dramatically in the coming decades. In Blurring the Color Line, Alba explores a future in which socially mobile minorities could blur stark boundaries and gain much more control over the social expression of racial differences.
Quest for Equality: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity
Neil Foley examines the complex interplay among regional, national, and international politics that plagued the efforts of Mexican Americans and African Americans to find common ground in ending employment discrimination in the defense industries and school segregation in the war years and beyond.
Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War
Peter Wood reveals the long-hidden story of a remarkable Winslow Homer Civil War painting. Wood’s brisk narrative integrates art and history, giving us a fresh vantage point on Homer’s early career, the struggle to end slavery, and the dramatic closing years of the American Civil War.
Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times
This collective biography of four jazz musicians from Brooklyn, Ghana, and South Africa demonstrates how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how musical convergences and crossings altered the politics and culture of both continents.
Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory
The Emancipation Proclamation is responsible both for Lincoln’s being hailed as the Great Emancipator and for his being pilloried by those who consider his once-radical effort at emancipation insufficient. Holzer examines the impact of Lincoln’s announcement at the moment of its creation, and then as its meaning has changed over time.
Black Jews in Africa and the Americas
Parfitt explains how many African peoples came to think of themselves as descendants of the ancient tribes of Israel. Pursuing medieval and modern race narratives over a millennium in which Jews were cast as black and black Africans were cast as Jews, he reveals a complex interaction between religious and racial labels and their political uses.
The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States
Ira Berlin offers a framework for understanding slavery’s demise in the United States. Emancipation was not an occasion but a century-long process of brutal struggle by generations of African Americans who were not naive about the price of freedom. Just as slavery was initiated and maintained by violence, undoing slavery also required violence.
Redeeming the Great Emancipator
Abraham Lincoln projects a larger-than-life image across American history owing to his role as the Great Emancipator. Yet this noble aspect of Lincoln’s identity is the dimension that some historians have cast into doubt. The award-winning historian and Lincoln scholar Allen Guelzo offers a vigorous defense of America’s sixteenth president.
Afro-Latin America: Black Lives, 1600–2000
Two-thirds of Africans, both free and enslaved, who came to the Americas from 1500 to 1870 came to Spanish America and Brazil. Yet Afro-Latin Americans have been excluded from narratives of their hemisphere’s history. George Reid Andrews redresses this omission by making visible the lives and labors of black Latin Americans in the New World.
Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court
In ruling after ruling, the three most important pre–Civil War justices—Marshall, Taney, and Story—upheld slavery. Paul Finkelman establishes an authoritative account of each justice’s proslavery position, the reasoning behind his opposition to black freedom, and the personal incentives that embedded racism ever deeper in American civic life.
No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding
Driving straight to the heart of the most contentious issue in American history, Sean Wilentz argues controversially that, far from concealing a crime against humanity, the U.S. Constitution limited slavery’s legitimacy—a limitation which in time inspired the antislavery politics that led to Southern secession, the Civil War, and Emancipation.
The Black Kingdom of the Nile
For centuries, Egyptian civilization has been at the origin of the story we tell about the West. But Charles Bonnet’s archaeological excavations have unearthed extraordinary sites in modern Sudan that challenge this notion and compel us to look to black Africa and the Nubian Kingdom of Kush, where a highly civilized state existed 2500–1500 BCE.