KENT GARRETT graduated from Harvard in 1963. He has had a thirty-year Emmy and Peabody award-winning career in television news and documentaries. JEANNE ELLSWORTH has a PhD in social foundations of education from the University of Buffalo, and has devoted her life to teaching, from elementary school to prisons to university. Garrett and Ellsworth live in Roxbury, New York.
This engaging story of eighteen remarkable black men admitted to Harvard's class of 1963 is an eye-opener. Brilliantly placed in historical context, including the unfolding of the Civil Rights Movement, The Last Negroes at Harvard conveys an important message. Namely, the willingness of these young men to embrace, not retreat from, the challenges of racial interaction in an elite setting is in no small measure a reflection of individual pride, self-confidence, and efficacy. --William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears and More than Just Race [This] beautifully written narrative...offers a gripping snapshot of how these students 'stood out and blended in' as the largest incoming Harvard class of African Americans to date and for a number of years to come. Garrett is a keen observer of his fellow students, and he explores how this experience sharpened his critical thinking skills and raised his consciousness of Negroes as Afro-Americans (later African Americans), Afro-Caribbeans, and Africans. Essential reading for those interested in civil rights, racial identity, and higher education. --Library Journal, starred review These extraordinary men chart life journeys that were full of challenges...but also full of accomplishments. Garrett writes with an easy, charming style, but the sense of injustice is palpable. A fine contribution to the literature of civil rights and the African American experience. --Kirkus, starred review [Garrett] and coauthor Ellsworth eloquently describe the pressures these students were under, drawing an insightful portrait of the limits of racial progress in America. Expertly blending memoir and cultural history, this outstanding retrospective deserves to be widely read. --Publishers Weekly, starred review