This week we lost a giant. Eugene Genovese died on Sept 26 after a long illness. I don’t have any long and amazing stories to share about him, but what I do know is that his works on slavery have helped shaped the historian that I have become. A staple in my library is his work Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. When I need to know where to start looking for something slave related, I head to this book. It has been the starting point for much of my research and for that I am grateful.
The work of Genovese has also helped me when it comes to interpreting slave life. It’s hard re-creating the life of a group that had been slighted so often and even more difficult when there is insufficient documentation, but the images that he invoked allowed me to press ahead and find ways to interpret the home life, that life away from the fields and big house, and really get to the core of what life was like for enslaved men and women.
Anyway, just a sad moment in history. I hope that scholars for years to come will continue to use and critique his work and learn as much, if not more, than I did.
If you don’t have it, you can buy Roll, Jordan, Roll here