Ervin Jordan Reviews Robinson’s Bitter Fruits of Bondage

Last week I chose Armstead Robinson’s posthumously published Bitter Fruits of Bondage: The Demise of Slavery and the Collapse of the Confederacy, 1861-1865 as the best Confederate study of 2006.  Check out Ervin Jordan’s very thoughtful and insightful review of the book over at H-Net.  The two were friends and colleagues here in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia.  Jordan is an archivist at UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections and specializes in the Civil War.

Armstead Louis Robinson (1947-1995) was a colleague, friend, and mentor; we discussed our respective books-in-progress on many occasions. As the
University of Virginia special collections’ research archivist and Civil War specialist, I am currently processing his papers (70,000 items) which include several groups of _Bitter Fruits of Bondage_ manuscripts and research material; these are not yet available to the public but once they are, his dedication to the historian’s craft will be deservedly appreciated. As a teacher, Black Studies advocate, Civil War historian, and founding director of the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies, Robinson was widely respected among his peers. One monograph of African-American intellectuals included him among a pantheon of nearly two hundred exceptional minds including W. E. B. Du Bois, Toni Morrison, and Cornel West. Colleagues familiar with Robinson’s academic career as a student and teacher maintain he was a genius born to be a historian; as a history undergraduate his maturating skills were acknowledged by mentors such as Eugene Genovese who quoted Robinson’s unpublished honors thesis in his peerless _Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made_ (1974).

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