Slave Culture

Slave Culture : Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America

3.9 (22 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this major study of Afro-American culture, Sterling Stuckey explains how different African peoples interacted during the nineteenth century to achieve a common more

Product details

  • Paperback | 438 pages
  • 134.62 x 203.2 x 22.86mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0195056647
  • 9780195056648
  • 1,641,398

Review quote

'a rich, provocative, and in many ways seminal interpretation that may force a reconsideration of the neglected depths of African culture in America.' Library Journal 'a spirited nationalist interpretation of Afro-American cultural history. It is an interpretation of considerable originality.' The New Republic 'powerful new book...A book as rich and thoughtful as this inevitably sparks questions.' The Nation 'a valuable contribution to the debate on African survivals and transmutations in American culture ... There is so much in Slave Culture to fascinate the student of America and the African Diaspora that one wishes that it could have been twice its length. Many of its points deserve greater space than the author has been able to give them.' George Shepperson, University of Edinburgh, Slavery and Abolitionshow more

Back cover copy

That essay's argument that slave culture flowed forth from an essentially autonomous value system in some ways anticipated the view of Africa's impact on slave consciousness that one finds in this more

About Sterling Stuckey

Sterling Stuckey is Professor of History at Northwestern University. Stuckey is also editor of The Ideological Origins of Black more

Review Text

Thoughtful tracing of the roots of black nationalist feelings in America over several centuries. Stuckey's thesis is that African culture among black Americans from the earliest times was much higher than is generally estimated. Using anthropological evidence, he cites certain rituals, such as the Ring Shout and Circle Dance, popular in the New World, which have African antecedents. While these instances may not be as overwhelmingly conclusive as Stuckey postulates, nevertheless his book has an additional value as a historical analysis: clear portraits of the careers of W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson synopsize biographical material in the light of the author's reading on the subjects of black history and nationalism. Moreover, there are chapters devoted to less familiar characters in the nationalism struggle, such as David Walker and Henry Highland Garnet. Yet, perhaps predictably, Du Bois and Robeson steal the show. Robeson so revered Du Bois that when the great educator stayed briefly in his London apartment, he hung a sign on the door, W.E.B. DU BOIS SLEPT HERE. As for Robeson, his own memorable singing voice was deliberately untrained, Stuckey relates, in order to retain its special character apart from the European traditions of vocalism. If there is a flaw in Stuckey's presentation, it is that the geniality in the portraits of Robeson and Du Bois does not match up with these two men's often prickly personalities. Even their closest allies were often in argument with them. The combative element in the stories of all these ardent nationalists is an important one in evoking the atmosphere of the times. But by presenting a calm, approving portrait, Stuckey may have created an entirely too relaxed retrospective of an issue whose questions are still very much undecided. In short, an ably researched and explicated historical text, which benefits also from anthropological readings. Perhaps it's too good-natured for the argumentative figures at its center. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

22 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 32% (7)
4 41% (9)
3 14% (3)
2 14% (3)
1 0% (0)
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