Nathan I. Huggins (1927-89)

AHA Staff, April 1990

Nathan I. Huggins, one of the leading scholars in the field of African-American studies, died December 5, 1989 at the age of sixty-two.

Born in Chicago, Huggins was raised in the San Francisco Bay area. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and later his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Huggins taught at Long Beach State College, Lake Forest College, The University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Columbia University before returning to Harvard as a teacher in 1980. There he served as W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of History and Afro-American Studies and directed the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.

Huggins wrote four books—Harlem Renaissance; Slave and Citizen: The Life of Frederick Douglas; Protestant Against Poverty: Boston's Charities; and Black Odyssey: The African-American Ordeal in Slavery—and numerous articles about the African-American experience in the United States. He served on the editorial board of The Journal of American History, The American Historical Review, and The Journal of Ethnic Histories and was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Ford Foundation travel study fellow.

In 1981 he established the W.E.B. Du Bois Lectureship in Afro-American life, history, and culture to help bring black scholars to Harvard and, in 1987, the Kathryn Huggins Prize to honor an outstanding undergraduate thesis in Afro-American history and culture.

An endowment to support the Nathan Irvin Huggins Lectureship in Intellectual and Cultural History is currently being established. Letters of support and contributions can be sent to: Dean Michael A. Spence, 5 University Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.