Given the context of social change in the early 1960s, black history was now the object of unprecedented attention among wide segments of the American population, black and white. In academe nothing demonstrated this growing legitimacy of black history better than the way in which certain scholars of both races, who had previously been ambivalent about being identified as specialists in the field, now reversed themselves.
Thus Frenise Logan, returning to an academic career, decided to attempt to publish his doctoral dissertation on blacks in late nineteenth-century North Carolina. A 1960 award encouraged him to do further research, and his expanded The Negro in North Carolina, 1876–1894 appeared in 1964. It is true that as late as 1963 a white professor advised John W. Blassingame to avoid black history if he wanted to have "a future in the historical profession." Yet more indicative of how things were going was that 1964–1965 marked a turning point for two of Kenneth Stampp’s former students-Nathan Huggins and Leon Litwack. The changing intellectual milieu seems to have permitted Huggins, whose original intention of specializing in African and Afro-American history had been overruled by practical concerns, to move into what became his long-range commitment to the field. By 1965 when his interest in intellectual history found expression in the idea of doing a book on the Harlem Renaissance, the factors that earlier would have discouraged him from such a study had dissipated. For Litwack the return to black history was an especially vivid experience, and he recalls the day he spoke at the University of Rochester, lecturing on Jacksonian democracy. Some students in the audience, sensing that his heart was just not in that topic, urged him to undertake research once again in the field to which he had already contributed so significantly. He settled on the study that became Been in the Storm So Long (1979). In short, both Huggins and Litwack now felt able to dismiss the professional considerations that had loomed so large in their earlier decision to work in other specialties and to identify themselves with what had hitherto been a marginal field of inquiry.
The author cites Logan, Huggins, and Litwack for their
Asignificant work on Jacksonian democracy
Bparticipation in the Harlem Renaissance
Creturn to the field of Afro-American history
Dresearch on blacks in nineteenth-century North Carolina
Efailure to respond to the changing intellectual milieu