The Negro and the Nation

by Hubert Harrison
Contributors: Justin Rogers-CooperKrystyna Michael

This is a project for students in the American Studies course MALS 73100.

The Manifold edition of The Negro and The Nation is an interactive, media-rich digital version of a long neglected text. We developed the project as a course-based, student-focused collaborative project using Manifold, an open-source, Mellon-funded digital publishing platform in development between the CUNY Graduate Center, the University of Minnesota Press, and Cast Iron Coding. The Manifold edition of The Negro and The Nation was developed through faculty-staff collaborations between the Digital Scholarship Lab at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Master’s of Arts programs in the Digital Humanities and Liberal Studies.

Student Contributors: Samuel Besse, Flora De-Tournay-Oden, Jonathan Holley, Samantha Lilienfeld, Mariseal Palafox, Quincy Smith, Josefine Ziebell

Manifold Assignment: Hubert Harrison’s The Negro and the Nation


To practice “doing” American studies, our class will collaborate on an open-source digital project using the Manifold publishing platform developed by the CUNY Graduate Center in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Press and the development firm, Cast Iron Coding. We’ll create a dynamic, media-rich digital edition of Hubert Harrison’s neglected The Negro and the Nation (1917), and over the course of the semester, we’ll customize a publicly accessible digital textbook with media resources and annotations in the form of citations, questions, and observations developed from our class readings and discussions.


As a class we’ll read Harrison’s text first thing in the semester. I will add the first media resources and annotations as an example of the type of work I am asking you to do. Over the course of the semester, students will provide different kinds of media resources and annotations in order to customize Harrison’s text for contemporary study and scholarship. We will reflect on our process over the course of the semester. Someone from the Manifold team will visit class to introduce the platform and talk to us about our project.


By creating an annotated and media-rich text of Harrison’s text, we will spotlight fascinating intellectual work by a remarkably understudied black intellectual. In addition, we will explore how Manifold works as a scholarly platform, and compare our practice with more traditional forms of academic labor.


American studies is an interdisciplinary field, and as such utilizes a combination of methods and practices to create new kinds of scholarly knowledge. American studies isn’t just a field that looks at particular issues or problems, but is actually a way of approaching issues and problems -- it’s a method, not just a framework. Part of its method stems from the application of critical disciplinary tools from its various fields onto an urgent problem. In our class, we want to explore these methods and practices to answer questions about American culture and values.


All students will make at least four different contributions over the course of the semester within the platform. Media resources and annotations will be embedded into specific locations in the text.

  • Media Resources: Embedded or linked media - For these kinds of additions, you should find a relevant document, image, video, or article that adds new meaning or context to an idea or passage from the text. To make it easier for you, please send me the link(s) or files, a caption and/or description that contextualizes the resource, and the exact place in the text where you’d like your resource to appear. To identify that exact place in the text, send me a one or two sentence quote from the text. Wherever we link to another media source of whatever kind, we will need to add an academic citation to our working bibliography, which will be in Chicago style (17th edition).

  • Annotations: There are different kinds of annotations that you can add yourself. All annotations should be around 100 words. They’re essentially scholarly annotations that describe how a course or other reading supports or complicates an idea, word, or passage from Harrison’s text. The tone and intent of student contributions should be scholarly, but conversational. Annotations can be:

    • A brief citation (a quote) from another course reading or other scholarly text with a paragraph explaining the link between the outside source and the Hubert text. Citations should include Chicago Style bibliographic information.
    • Exploratory questions to generate class or public discussion within the context of American Studies
    • Observations or criticisms on the text

If we wish to link to a text as a whole, we should think about how and where we’d like to do that.

For technical questions, I’ll give further instructions on a separate sheet.


By October 1st, all students should have made two contributions to our course version of The Negro and the Nation: their own annotation (a quote, question, or observation as outlined above); and a media resource of some kind, sent to me according to the instructions above. By December 1st, all students should have made two more of each type of contribution.

Recent Activity

  • Resource Added

    Resources on Harrison’s Papers and Writings

  • Resource Added

    Key Harrison Texts by Jeffrey B. Perry

  • Resource Added

    Hubert Harrison Lecture

  • Text Added

    The Negro and the Nation

  • Project Kickoff

    A Manifold Scholarship at CUNY project is born!


  • publisher place
    New York City

Student Contributors

Samuel Besse is currently in the American Studies track of the Masters of Liberal Studies program at CUNY's Graduate Center. He is studying Historical Archaeology, with a focus in Colonial North America.

Jonathan Holley is on the faculty of the English Department of Kingsborough Community College. Mr. Holley holds an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College; and his additional research interests include opera, Romance languages, and the politics of race.

Samantha Lilienfeld currently supports young New Yorkers' efforts to re-center themselves as experts in their own community. She hopes to further utilize her experience in Ethnic Studies scholarship to increase opportunities for an equitable education.

Marisela Palafox The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Marisela Palafox, is a MALS student at the GC with an interest in how different aspects of one's identity/being determine quality of life in a capitalist nation-state.

Quincy Smith As a Grad student my interest is in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. I want to explore how gender is perceived, in addition to the reality it communicates not just to society but also to the individual.

Josefine Ziebell I come from Berlin, where I did my undergraduate degree in North American Studies. Here at the Graduate Center I'm in the MALS Program and my research focuses on structural racism both in the U.S. and in Germany.