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"Gutman argues convincingly that the stability of the Black family encouraged the transmission of and so was crucial in sustaining the Black heritage of folklore,music,and religious expression from one generation to another,a heritage that slaves were continually fashioning out of their African and American experiences."

I know what the sentence means. But I don't get the last part "a heritage that slaves were continually fashioning out of their African and American experiences". It kind of makes me wonder if this sentence is a complete one. So, what kind of words were left out here? Could you please help me point them out to make the sentence completed?
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Hello Jeff

The last part gives you some additional information about the preceding 'heritage'. You could rewrite it thus:

"Gutman argues convincingly that the stability of the Black family encouraged the transmission of - and so was crucial in sustaining - the Black heritage of folklore, music, and religious expression from one generation to another: a heritage that slaves were continually fashioning out of their African and American experiences."

Or:

"Gutman argues convincingly that the stability of the Black family encouraged the transmission of - and so was crucial in sustaining - the Black heritage of folklore, music, and religious expression from one generation to another, (which was) a heritage that slaves were continually fashioning out of their African and American experiences."

MrP
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Even though the structure of the sentence is rather awkward, I believe that it is grammatically correct. If I am not mistaken, there are TWO parenthetical clauses in the sentence,
i) "and so was crucial in sustaining"
ii) "a heritage that slaves were continually fashioning out of their African and American experiences."-----the word "heritage" in this parenthetical clause refers to "black heritage" in the main sentence.
I believe that the reason why the second parenthetical clause was placed at the end of the sentence was because the sentence structure would have been even more awkward if both clauses were placed too close to each other in the middle of the sentence. If the first parenthetical clause is omitted, the sentence can be rephrased to read:-

"Gutman argues convincingly that the stability of the Black family encouraged the transmission of the Black heritage-a heritage that slaves were continually fashioning out of their African and American experiences- of folklore,music,and religious expression from one generation to another."

This is my take and I could be wrong. Perhaps a more knowledgeable person would be kind enough to give us a better explanation.
Hello Temico

I would happily subscribe to your 'parenthetical' analysis.

MrP
Thanks Temico and MrP. Emotion: smile Now I got it.

I just didn't notice "the Black heritage" there, and "a heritage that..." refers back to it.
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