BLACK ODYSSEY: The Afro-American Ordeal in Slavery by Nathan Irvin Huggins

BLACK ODYSSEY: The Afro-American Ordeal in Slavery

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An ""evocative and impressionistic"" history of Afro-American slavery which conveys the ""psychological and spiritual sense of order and place. . . destroyed by the slave trade"" and examines the cultural identities--black and white--which evolved in response in the New World. Like Haley in Roots, Huggins does not underestimate the monumental impact this disruption had on the captives, severing family, village, and religious ties, shriveling individual identity. And in tracing the changing contexts after arrival, he does not ignore the troublesome realities and vicious strategies which served to weaken feelings of community, undermine political resistance, and quash personal assertiveness. Alert to the dangers a policy of enforced inferiority raises--loss of integrity, emergence of duplicity and bitterness--Huggins attributes enormous, almost superhuman strengths to Afro-American adaptability: ""Somehow they managed, even as slaves, to transcend the role of victim and to take their souls into their own hands. This was their superb genius and their ultimate heroism."" Huggins' indebtedness to Stampp, Genovese, and other obligatory sources is evident throughout, although he avoids intrusive references and relies on generalities to enhance readability. From the author of Black Renaissance (1971), a rousing, informed work with special appeal to young adult readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1977
Publisher: Pantheon