Eugene D. Genovese, an AHI adviser and one of the most influential historians of his generation, was honored on Thursday evening, 20 August, at the T. R. R. Cobb House in Athens, Georgia. After introductory remarks by Tad Brown, President of the Watson-Brown Foundation, AHI co-founder Robert Paquette, one of Professor Genovese’s former students, delivered the keynote address “Honoring the Master.”
Thursday night’s festivities preceded a two-day colloquium, “Liberty and Slavery: The Challenge of T. R. R. Cobb, attended by fifteen scholars, including Douglas Ambrose, another one of Genovese’s former students, who also spoke on Thursday evening. In six sessions over the next two days, participants explored the history and law of slavery as understood by T. R. R. Cobb, the chief architect of the Confederate Constitution, in his magnum opus An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America (1858). Topics included slavery, ancient and modern; abolition and emancipation; the law of nature, the will of God, and race; persons and property; the meaning of freedom in the Constitution, fugitive slaves and the law of comity; slavery and the defense of southern nationalism
Cobb had remained a Unionist until well into the 1850s. In this volume, he prefaced an exposition of the treatment of slaves as persons under the law with one of the first attempts in the nineteenth century to write a history of slavery from a global perspective.
Besides Paquette, Ambrose, and Genovese, conferees included Al Brophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Marshall DeRosa, Florida Atlantic University; John Devanny, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Easley, SC; Henry (Hank) Edmondson III, Georgia State University; Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School; Paul Hoffer, University of Georgia; Daniel Littlefield, University of South Carolina; Bernard Powers, College of Charleston; Barry Shain, Colgate University; John Stauffer, Harvard University; Adam Tate, Clayton College; Jenny Wahl, Carleton College; and Clyde Wilson, University of South Carolina,