Neglected Book

Stuckey, Sterling, Slave Culture (1987).

This is a tough call. Stuckey's brilliant Slave Culture has found its audience as a word-of-mouth classic and perhaps no Oxford University Press book has ever been fully neglected. Indeed Stuckey's masterpiece underpins such critical recent studies of slavery as Michael Gomez's Exchanging Our Country Marks. However, the timing of Slave Culture's release in a period of defeat and quiesence greatly dulled the appreciation of it as a major work in the history of nationalism (supply defined) and resistance. Its wildly adventuresome from-slavery-to-Robeson structure argues powerfully against simply searching for founder-leaders of Black nationalism among the free middle class and for the idea that slaves created an African nationalist ethos which intellectuals and theorists only caught up with through time and struggle.

Recommended by David Roediger, University of Illinois

Dave Roediger teaches in Afro-American Studies and History at University of Illinois--Urbana/Champaign. His booksinclude Our Own Time (with Philip Foner), The Wages of Whiteness, Towards the Abolition of Whiteness and the forthcoming Colored White.