Whoever has tried to understand the experience of African Americans in the United States is well aware of its controversial nature. Highly regarded scholars often differ markedly in their interpretations of empirical findings. For many years, for example, the views of Melville J. Herskovits and E. Franklin Frazier about the extent of African influence on American Negro life were hotly debated. More recent controversies include among others, the polemics over Stanley Elkins' interpretation of slavery, over the Moynihan Report, and over William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner, all dating from the late twentieth century.
Old Memories, New Moods contains essays on the roots of African American protest, comments on the background and character of the Negro Revolt and the Civil Rights Movement, interpretations of the impact and significance of Black Power, and, finally, varied views on changing self-images and the meaning of Black Pride. Original essays written especially for this book include those by Mina Davis Caulfield, August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, Gerald W. Mullin, and the editor. Many other essays by black and white social scientists, psychiatrists, historians, and political figures are offered in careful juxtaposition. Among these contributors are anthropologists Melville J. Herskovits and Ulf Hannerz; social historians Raymond and Alice Bauer, Winthrop D. Jordan, Eugene D. Genovese, Kenneth Stampp, and Stanley Elkins.
Conceived as a continuum with volume one, reissued by Transaction earlier, each of the two volumes is distinct and self-contained. The first is particularly concerned with general background and life styles, and the second with protest and attempts to develop new communal activities and avenues of expression. Both should be most useful to all concerned with teaching and learning about African Americans in the United States, be it in traditional social science or history programs, in special seminars, or in African American studies courses.