Wednesday, February 27, 2008

George Fredrickson, Rest in Peace

The incomparable historian George Fredrickson has passed away. Other than advisors and professors and those senior people to whom I owe my career, there are three other historians in whose debt I'll always feel simply because of their presence in the field. One is C. Vann Woodward. Another is John Hope Franklin. And the third is George Fredrickson whose unparalleled contributions to comparative history profoundly shaped my own work.

I am proud and honored to have contributed an essay a couple of years back to a special issue of Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies devoted to Fredrickson, especially since he contributed an article as well. I am at work on the early stages of a book in which I am exploring bus boycotts in the United states and South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s. My original idea for this project came from an aside in one of Fredrickson's books, several of which I refer to almost religiously.

In the end, historians leave a body of work behind. George Fredrickson's is unsurpassed . We never met in person, but I feel that I owe him a profound debt of gratitude.

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