|Herskovits, Melville Jean (1895–1963)|
American anthropologist; student of Boas. "Herskovits was the first chair of a department of African Studies in the U.S.A., having been appointed to that position at Northwestern University in 1961 [...] Controversial during its time and after, Herskovits's most famous book, The Myth of the Negro Past (1941) sought to debunk the claims that black people in the United States had no history or cultural heritage to speak of. It set out to prove, through fieldwork in Africa, the U.S. and the Americas and through careful but sweeping analysis that cultural traditions originating in Africa survived the Atlantic slave trade and slavery and manifested themselves in regions of the world inhabited by African descendants in the New World long after the period of enslavement had ended. Many of these "retentions" can still be seen throughout the Americas today." Herskovits is also known for his formalist position in economic anthropology.
(Thanks to Christopher M. Tinson for supplying the quoted passages.)