In response to:
Getting to Know the Slaves from the September 21, 1972 issue
To the Editors:
At the risk of appearing well on my way toward becoming one of those middle-aged cranks for whom an accurate presentation of his work should be of concern to the world, I must say that I found the Fredrickson-Gutman version of my views of slavery (NYR, September 30) a bit much. For the record, I do not recognize any of the interpretations attributed to me as my own.
Eugene D. Genovese
George Fredrickson replies:
It is true that I did not in my brief discussion of his work describe the implications of Professor Genovese’s argument in the way he would have done so himself. I do not in fact accept the validity of his crucial distinction in Roll, Jordan, Roll between the slaves’ “acquiesence in paternalism” and their “rejection of slavery.” I consider the distinction to be a metaphysical one and regard paternalism as simply a device that might have been used to control slaves in the Old South. Hence for me acquiescence in paternalism constitutes accommodation to an existing pattern of white racial dominance. I should have made this viewpoint clear in the article, and I apologize for not doing so.